Young chef at Michelin-starred The Elephant fights to stay in the country

Young chef at Michelin-starred The Elephant fights to stay in the country

A young chef who fled Albania and is working as an apprentice at Michelin-starred restaurant The Elephant in Torquay is facing a fight to stay in the UK.

18-year old Ali has been described as one of South Bristol Skills Academy best young chefs and is now being mentored by The Elephant’s chef-patron Simon Hulstone.

"Ali is a major asset to the team and such a driven young man so it would be a shame for the industry to lose such a talent," says Hulstone.

The chef made the national finals of Young Chef Peru 2017, where the task was to prepare a three-course Peruvian meal in a live cook-off in London. Despite being the youngest and most inexperienced finalist he was awarded third place in the competition.

At 16 Ali fled his native Albania by stowing away on a lorry outside Calais and arrived in Bristol in September 2015. He was placed with a foster carer and enrolled with the academy in the same month. In his first year he became a college ambassador and volunteered to work with other chefs at various events.

In his spare time he has maintained a part-time job at the Italian Kitchen in Hanham, Bristol where he has been able to develop both culinary and front of house skills.

Ali has had his request to continue his new life in England denied by the Home Office. He must now go to court to make his case in a final attempt to gain sanctuary in the UK.

He will not qualify for legal aid and so can only appeal his case if he can raise £5,000.

"Like any young person Ali deserves the right to have a future with a loving and supportive family around him, something he will never have in his own country," says carer John Stokes.

A JustGiving page has been set up to help Ali with his fight to stay in the country and the campaign is aiming to raise awareness using #Future4Ali on social media.

To view Ali's JustGiving page click here.