Chef Dave J Critchley
Lu Ban's Executive Head Chef


Dave J Critchley, executive head chef at Lu Ban and proud Scouser, holds the prestigious honour of being bestowed one of the highest honours in the catering world after being appointed the first ever international Master chef apprentice in Chinese culinary arts.

In July 2020 he underwent the symbolic ritual of sharing tea with his mentor Mr Zhengxi Wu, a national level Master Chef of China, via a video-link as part of his induction, as well as receiving an official chef’s hat.

The ceremony was originally scheduled to be held in China in February 2020 but had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Dave is now following a path, overseen by Mr Wu, in enhancing his skills in Chinese culinary arts to reach Master Chef status from the famed Tianjin School of Cuisine.

Dave said “I admire teacher Zhengxi Wu’s outstanding achievements in the Chinese culinary arts field and grateful to be accepted as his student.
“I will follow his teachings to learning Chinese culinary arts and be working to the highest standards to introduce Chinese food culture and to further develop Chinese culinary arts in the UK through Lu Ban Restaurant and further afield.”


Dave has a passion for community and spends time helping local food banks, and preparing dinner boxes for children and families that need a hand.

He started LIDS (Liverpool Independent Delivered Services) at the beginning of the Covid 19 Pandemic to give a lifeline to people that couldn’t get out to shop for groceries, and those that couldn’t get what they needed, due to panic buying. Using only independent local suppliers, Dave gave local shops a platform to be able to have customers order all they needed in one place, and have it delivered in one go.

Dave won the City of Liverpool Business Award for Business Hero of the Year in 2021.

Chef Dave Critchley winner of City of Liverpool Business Award for Business Hero of the Year 2021

Nowadays you will find him organising his busy team of chefs and kitchen staff at Lu Ban, spending time with guests in the restaurant and private dining rooms, driving around the city in his all-electric MINI, as well as focusing on his new cook book, due to be released in March / April 2022 (and available for pre-order here). 


For the 2nd time in 2 years, Dave has been invited to participate in BBC Two’s hit cooking show, Great British Menu.

He first appears in the 17th series of the show on Tuesday 8th February in the North West heats. The theme is 100 years of British Broadcasting, so we can’t wait to find out what he’s got planned!

We’re sure it will be created with the passion, flare, charisma and respect for culture that Dave displays every day.


Good luck, chef!

Get live updates from Dave whilst the show is aired. Follow Dave using the icon links below.

To celebrate Dave appearing on BBC Two’s Great British Menu he is hosting an exclusive Great British Menu night at Lu Ban on Wednesday 23rd February.

Be sure to experience his GBM dishes – book your place here.


Dave returned to Liverpool to start the new venture of Lu Ban in 2019 following a two-year spell with Manchester-based Living Venture Group and their flagship Australasia brand, where he held the position of executive chef.

Prior to that, he spent four years as executive head chef at the prestigious London Carriage Works at Hope Street Hotel where he earnt two AA rosettes and held them for four years, and had senior roles at Portico in Albert Dock, Gallery in Formby, Noble House, Alma de Cuba, 52 Lark Lane and Neighbourhood Cafe Childwall.

Liverpool chef Dave Critchley gets ‘second bite’ at popular TV cookery show


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