TWO Sussex chefs have stepped away from the frying pan and into the fire as they launch their own business.

Steve Edwards, the Horsham chef who won Masterchef the Professionals in 2013, has teamed up with Shoreham-based Josh Stanzl to create Etch.

The aim is to create fantastic food that puts “Sussex on the national and international stage”.

And hot on the heels of a successful pop-up event at the award-winning Nyetimber vineyard, the pair has high hopes for their new venture.

Steve, 28, who grew up living in Ashdown Park hotel near East Grinstead, said: "We have both worked in Michelin star kitchens but we wanted to do something that was more than a full-time job.

“We’re open to anything. We’re happy to go with the flow at the moment.”

Steve met Josh while working at South Lodge Hotel, near Horsham.

Despite receiving the thumbs up from notoriously harsh judges such as Michel Roux Jnr and Greg Wallace, he decided there was no greater satisfaction than going it alone with his good friend.

Josh, 27, said: “There’s no one out there like us at the moment.

“I mean you have the hairy baker boys but they are in their 50s. We are young, enthusiastic and love to interact with those we are cooking for.

“We want to focus on creating cool food in a cool environment.”

Following the success of creating a menu inspired by Nyetimber’s sparkling wine and served in the setting of the vineyard, the plan is to develop a series of pop-up venues across the country including in Sussex.

From breweries to cafés, the dynamic duo are not ruling anything out.

Throw in celebrity bookings, corporate clients, food festival displays and stints at trendy London venues, there is plenty to keep them busy.

But the pair still have Sussex at heart.

Josh, a former student at Northbrook College who lives on Shoreham Beach with his partner Victoria and two children, said: “We love it here – we really couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

“Where else have you got the sea meeting beautiful countryside? That creates a special environment and you can taste that in the food.

“There are a lot of people out there who are based in London but there’s no one who is really pushing the local produce of Sussex on a national and international stage.

“Sussex needs to be represented – and we hope we can do that.”

  • Steve and Josh will both be appearing as guest chefs at The Big Nibble in Horsham tomorrow from 11.30am.