Graduate Awards

2016 Graduate Awards

“The Graduate Awards do a fantastic job for showcasing young talent and it’s a fantastic addition to your CV. Your skills are tested in so many different areas, rather than in just one aspect. The Guild are able to get your name out into wider industry as the prizes and opportunities that come with passing the final exam are amazing.”
James Goodyear, chef de partie at Maaemo in Oslo

The Graduate Awards were founded in 2002 by Vice-President, Steve Munkley, who saw a real need in the industry for providing formal recognition of young chefs’ culinary excellence. Only 48 chefs have ever passed the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards but each year we are on the lookout for new chefs to enter.

What does it take to be a Graduate?

It is an examination created to test and improve the skills which chefs have learnt at college and in their early careers, and take them to the next level. Chefs have to go through a tough entry process including a paper entry, heats and then final examination. This includes a theory paper, butchery and fishmongery tasks as well as creating a ‘mystery basket’ dish, classic main course and a dessert that will really impress the panel of culinary experts.

Receiving the Graduate Award has proved career changing with previous Graduates going on to gain Michelin stars, work in some of the World’s top restaurants, be part of the World Skills team and even win the Young National Chef of the Year title.

2016 marks the 14th year of the Graduate Awards examinations and with so much talk about lack of skills and chef shortages, it provides the perfect opportunity to improve young chefs’ skills and showcase the culinary talent the UK has to offer. It’s an exciting year with Russell Bateman taking over as Chair of Examiners and the launch of a new Pastry Graduate Award.

How to become a Graduate

You can find out more about what it’s like to be part of these awards on The Staff Canteen website including interviews with previous Graduates and the video from last year’s final exam. The final exam takes place on Tuesday 30th August with the results being announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 6th September.

The entry process for 2016 has closed and will re-open in January 2017. If you’d like to be notified when the entries are open ,please email with your email address.

Join in the conversation about the Graduate Awards by tweeting @Craft_Guild and using the hashtag #CGCGradAwards.

Our 2016 finalists

The finalists for 2016 have been announced and are listed below.

Kitchen Award

Ben Brooke, Galvin La Chapelle
Erin Jackson Yates, Wiltons
Jake Leach, The Ledbury
Eleanor De Maria, Compass House
Keiron McGarrigle, Westminster Kingsway College
Andre Rhone, The Bingham
Amber Francis, The Ritz
Louise Ellen Roberts, Lexington
Joseph Allen, The Woodford
Lewis Kuciers, Black Bull
Aaron Middleton, Belmond Le Manoir
Dudley Pankhurst, Cunninghams Bistro

Pastry Award

Rita Souto, Park Lane Hotel
Fiona Bailey, The Dragon
Elizabeth McBride, Hix Soho
Kacey Bignell, The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Important Info

When: Tuesday 6th September 2016
Where: The Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London, W1J 7BX
TImings: Arrival - 18:30 / Awards Presentation - 19:00 / Drinks & Canapes - 20:30

Latest news from Graduate Awards

07 September 2016
Eight talented chefs are celebrating tonight after hearing they have passed the challenging Graduate Awards and first Pastry Graduate Awards final exam. The latest Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduates were given the news at a glittering awards ceremony at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.
25 May 2016
Today the Craft Guild of Chefs has unveiled which 32 chefs will be heading to the heats of the Kitchen Graduate Award and the first ever Pastry Graduate Award.
05 May 2016
Following last week’s call for mentors the Craft Guild of Chefs has extended the deadline for this year’s Graduate Awards.
28 April 2016
The Craft Guild of Chefs is launching an appeal for mentors in its Graduate Awards scheme. The Guild is calling on established chefs to get behind the young talent in their kitchens and support them in working towards one of the industry’s most impressive accolades.
23 February 2016
The Craft Guild of Chefs is looking for chefs under the age of 23 to enter the 2016 Graduate Awards. Entries are now open and young chefs have until Friday 6th May to complete the entry form.

More news from Graduate Awards

04 September 2015
The highest achiever, scoring 87% in the final exam in this year’s career-enhancing scheme for chefs aged 23 and under, was Reece Cosier, chef de partie, The Landmark hotel London. Two other...
24 June 2015
The mix of working restaurant, hotel and college chefs received the news following this week’s semi-final heats at Sheffield College and University of West London, where 20 chefs took part in...
04 February 2015
With Paul Gayler MBE signed up as chairman of examiners for the third year, the awards give chefs aged 23 and under the chance to test the skills acquired in college and honed in the workplace....
05 September 2014
James Newton from the Royal Garden Hotel took the top spot with a score of 87.5% closely followed by Connor Godfrey from Wiltons Restaurant. Joining them on the roll of honour is Ruth Hansom from The...
13 June 2014
Twenty young chefs from across the country were put through their paces in a series of tough culinary challenges at Sheffield College and the University of West London on June 11. Ten successful...

Copyright 2016 Craft Guild of Chefs

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