Bright future for Britain's youngest head chef Luke Thomas
Luke Thomas always knew he was destined to pursue a career as a chef.
From cooking with his family as a three-year-old to becoming chef patron of Luke's Dining Room at the Sanctum on the Green hotel in Cookham Dean at the tender age of 18, the rise of Britain's youngest head chef has been meteoric.
The teenager has made regular TV appearances since his high-profile appointment at the restaurant in March last year but this week he took on his biggest challenge yet by representing his native Wales in the heats of hit BBC Two show Great British Menu.
In May, the 19-year-old will also be subject of his own BBC Three documentary, Britain's Youngest Head Chef, which focuses on his progress running his own restaurant.
More television appearances are also in the pipeline for the coming months.
"People think you should be 28-30 before you are a head chef but if you are good enough and confident you can do it," said Luke.
Luke, originally from Flintshire, first started working in the industry at the age of 12 and in his short career has worked with chefs including Heston Blumenthal, the Roux brothers and Marcus Wareing.
He spent time at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and Alinea in Chicago before Sanctum owner Mark Fuller saw his potential.
"It was the perfect opportunity for me," said Luke.
"I grew a love for the area. There's far too much pressure in central London but this was a platform for me to have a restaurant in an affluent area and there's lots of really good restaurants here."
The role opened up a wealth of new opportunities for Luke and helped him fulfil a lifetime ambition before he had even hit his twenties.
He said: "I grew up in a time when cooking became quite trendy and people like Jamie Oliver made food a bit different and accessible.
"As soon as I started high school I essentially didn't like it. The only area I really excelled in was cooking.
"The only career choice for me was to go out and be a chef."
Click here for more on Luke's Great British Menu debut.