A RESTAURANT has become the first in Merseyside to win a Michelin star.
Fraiche, owned and run by Huyton-born Marc Wilkinson, was given the award two years after it was hotly tipped as a winner.
The Oxton restaurant earned the only new Michelin star to be awarded in the whole of north west.
Mr Wilkinsonís experimental creation of light, contemporary French cuisine won over the anonymous judges.
"I put everything into Fraiche Ė it is a passion, it is my life.
"When I first came to Wirral, I struggled to get ingredients, but now farmersí markets and local farm produce is much better."
"I have found a fantastic butcher in New Ferry and vegetables from Claremont Farm, and we are moving in the right direction."
He said: "I am ecstatic. It was a hard slog, but it is nice to have recognition when you have worked so hard and a Michelin star is always at the back of a chefís mind."
Mr Wilkinson, who started work at 15 in a restaurant in Anglesey cooking scampi and fillet steak, said: "It is nice to be different - it is boring to go out and eat the same old dishes. Everybody copies each othersí techniques.
"I like to experiment and I have lots of cool toys in the kitchen, such as the anti-griddle, which can freeze cook at -35 degrees. It means I can offer diners ice cream lollipops instantly THE LIVRPOOL ECHO