A UNIVERSITY chef is celebrating after taking a gold medal at one of the world's most prestigious culinary competitions.

Andrew Wood, who works at the University of York, took the top honour in the 2006 Salon Culinaire de Londres contest.

Mr Wood, who has worked at the university for four years, gained his catering qualifications at York College, before attending Scarborough College to specialise in pastry.

He has also worked in Germany, at the London Ritz and as head chef at York's Middlethorpe Hall, as well as a lecturer at York College.

He competed against nine others in the university chef category, who were given the task of preparing a two-course lunch, plus appetiser, for a vice-chancellor and a VIP visitor.

"I worked really hard in producing and practising the menu, repeating the dishes time and time again, until I was satisfied with the outcome," he said.

"I think if you practise and work hard you can achieve all your goals."

The prize includes a week's work experience at a Michelin-starred restaurant in France which he will take up in May or June.

Another senior chef from the university, Simon Woods, won a bronze medal in the contest's senior traditional pasta class competition.