The Cricketers head chef wins Great British Pub Awards 2023 title - full list of winners

The former kitchen porter creates pub classics with an Asian twist, such as Tempura black pudding.

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A former kitchen porter has been crowned Best Young Pub Chef in the prestigious Great British Pub Awards after a cook-off against two other young finalists.

Karl Quirante, 24, started out washing dishes at the Briars Hall Hotel in L40 at the age of 16, where his passion for cooking began. The Landlord of The Cricketers pub in Ormskirk spotted Karl’s talent and offered him a role as chef de partie in 2019 and from there he blossomed to become the pub’s head chef in April 2023.

Karl, who was born in the Philippines, but now lives in Burscough said he had “no passion for cooking” prior to working as a kitchen porter but began to “love how food was cooked”. Now, despite having no formal training, he is The Cricketers’ head chef and creates pub classics with a unique Asian twist.

He said: “I just love putting what I like to eat in my menu. It’s a bit of a mad one because you don’t know if people are going to like it but it just seems to work. Before I became head chef, I knew some stuff sold well but at the same time I wanted to put my own inspiration on it from the Philippines. There’s lots of Filipino roots in my food and one of my favourites is a twist on a Pork Adobo. I try and make it more customer friendly for people who don’t know about it.”

Karl Quirante’s food. The former kitchen porter has been dubbed one of the UK’s best pub chefs. Image: David Speak / SWNSKarl Quirante’s food. The former kitchen porter has been dubbed one of the UK’s best pub chefs. Image: David Speak / SWNS
Karl Quirante’s food. The former kitchen porter has been dubbed one of the UK’s best pub chefs. Image: David Speak / SWNS

Speaking prior to his win, Karl said: “I’m a little shocked by it all to be honest, I didn’t realise how big a competition this was. The owner put me up for it and I’ve gotten to the final three and I’m made up. I think he just had the belief in me. I wouldn’t have put myself forward and he’s given me a little push and more belief.”

After making it through to the final of the Great British Pub Awards, Karl headed to Manchester to battle against two other young chefs. The 24-year-old was crowned Best Young Pub Chef on September 19.

David Speak, owner of The Cricketers said Karl is a “real asset” to the pub and is “enthusiastic and positive”.

Merseyside entries

Sadly, no Merseyside pubs were named among the winners, however, four were shortlisted:

  • The Bridewell, Liverpool - Best City Pub
  • The Hightown Pub & Kitchen, Sefton - Best Pub for Entertainment and Best Pub for Families
  • The Brown Cow Inn, Liverpool - Admiral Taverns Pub of the Year
  • The Farmers Arms, Wirral - Stonegate Group Pub Partners Pub of the Year

Great British Pub Awards 2023 winners

  • The Cholmondeley Arms, Cheshire - Overall Great British Pub of the Year & Best Country/Rural Pub of the Year
  • The Loch & The Tyne, Berkshire - Best Pub for Food
  • Gaggle of Geese, Dorchester - Best Pub Garden
  • The Plough, Nottinghamshire - Best Pub for Families
  • The Bellflower, Lancashire - Best Pub for Dogs
  • The Royal Dyche, Lancashire - Best Pub to Watch Sports
  • The Old Abbey Taphouse, Manchester - Community Hero
  • Stroud Brewery Taproom, Gloucestershire - Best Sustainable Pub
  • The Turk’s Head, Twickenham - Best City/Urban Pub
  • The Kings Arms, Bexleyheath - Best Pub for Entertainment
  • Woodman, Greater London - Stonegate Group Pub Partners Pub of the Year 
  • The Plough, Cheltenham - Punch Pubs & Co. Pub of the Year 
  • Stag at Lyndhurst, Hampshire - Green King Pub of the Year
  • Boot and Shoe, West Yorkshire - Admiral Taverns Pub of the Year 
  • Rose and Crown, Worcester - Marston’s Pub of the Year 
  • Charlotte Vincent (Candlelight Inn) - Best Pub Chef
  • Karl Quirante (The Cricketers) - Best Young Pub Chef
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