A YOUNG chef reached the semi-finals of a TV cookery competition, which sees the very best of the country's young attempt to run a restaurant.

Joe Hewitt, 13, from Kirkby Malzeard in North Yorkshire, managed to get through several rounds on CBBC's Step Up to the Plate.

The show, which stars First Dates TV restaurant host, Fred Sirieix and co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, Allegra McEvedy, attracted more than 2,000 applicants, requiring them to upload a video of them showing off their culinary skills.

But beating off much of the competition, Joe managed to prepare a fresh squid dish and the grilling of 24 venison steaks as part of the restaurant's full lunch service.

He also went on to prepare a dish in 30 minutes, before serving it up to food critic Grace Dent and Great British Bake Off contestant Liam Charles.

Joe said: "I Love cooking because it is so diverse and it really gives you an insight into other cultures and peoples' lives.

“It (show) was very different to what I imagined.

"It gave me a good taste of what it is like to be a chef and I would definitely enter more competitions in the future.

"It showed me the breadth of talent out there and what other people my age can do."

Joe, who is a student at Ripon Grammar School, has since been described as an "amazing and talented" young man.

Louise Solden, food and nutrition teacher at the school, said: "Joe is an amazing and talented young man.

"He is incredibly modest for someone who has achieved so much.

"He talks about food in an incredibly passionate way, with immense insight and vision, so rare in a person of his age.

"I am very proud of him".