The talented owner/chef of a Horncastle restaurant has shown he is a ‘crust’ above the rest after his perfect pizza helped him taste successin a national competition.
Ciprian Lupse (23), from the popular Montebello Restaurant, finished in the top five of a prestigious event in Manchester.
He was involved in a thrilling ‘cook off’ with 15 other finalists from all over England.
Although Ciprian missed out on top spot, he was delighted with his high placing after impressing judges with his speciality - the aptly named Montebello pizza.
There was more good news for Ciprian as he was also a finalist in the same competition - this time in the category of best chef.
Ciprian admits he was ‘surprised but proud’ to do so well.
However, the biggest surprise of all is that he comes from Romania...and not Italy!
He explained: “I’ve always wanted to be a chef. From when I was a little boy, I was taught to cook by a someone who owned an Italian restaurant in Naples.
“He was fantastic. I couldn’t have had a better teacher. I learned everything from him.
“Now, I love cooking for my all my customers.”
Ciprian has spent the last four years in England and was initially chef at the Montebello under the previous owners.
When they left in June, he took charge and has set about transforming the venue - and the menu.
He said: “We try to use as much local produce as possible. Everything we cook from fresh, a la carte...from authentic recipes.
“We also have one of the best suppliers of Italian foods in the whole country.”
The restaurant is one of the most popular in the area.
Ciprian is particularly proud of his success because nominations for the competition came from customers.
He added: “I didn’t expect to do well but it is good for my business and good for Horncastle.”
Ciprian is about to install a new £4,000 pizza oven, shipped from Italy, and he has more exciting plans.
And his secret to a good pizza? “Make sure you cook with love!”