National Chef of the Year

National Chef of the Year
After four intensive heats, the Craft Guild of Chefs has announced the ten competitors going through to the final of this year’s National Chef of the Year competition, taking place at The Restaurant Show this October.

Having impressed the panel of 20 judges and triumphing over the 41 other chef competitors, the ten finalists will attend a mentor day (5 September), where they will be presented with a mystery basket of ingredients to be used in the final (3 October.)

Winner of the first heat and also Young National Chef of the Year 2013 champion, Ben Champkin – sous chef at L’Enclume - was the first chef to be announced going through to the NCOTY finals.

Joining him is David Davey-Smith - chef from Royal Air Force Worthy Down - who won the second heat at Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London, as well as third heat winner Karl O’Dell - senior sous chef from Petrus, Gordon Ramsay – and Thomas Westerland, sous chef from Lucknam Park, who won the final heat.

Also making the final are the six runners-up who scored the highest points across all four heats: Dean Westcar, head chef at Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park; Luke Selby, head chef at Dabbous; Simon Webb, head chef at Restaurant Associates; Kuba Winkowski, head chef at The Feathered Nest Inn; Will Holland, head chef at Coast Restaurant and Adam Thomason, head chef at Restaurant Associates – Deloitte.

Chair of judges for NCOTY and executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Gary Jones said: “Chefs should not underestimate what they have all achieved here today. This is the very best cooking competition in the UK and to be selected to be part of the semi-final is an honour.

“The energy, commitment and quality has been impressive from all our competitors and those that have reached the final really are at the top of their game. One thing we have worked hard to push as a competition is avoiding wastage, and it’s something we’ve noticed that the chefs have focused on both at the paper entry stage and semi-finals. I would urge those that did not get through to use the experience as a positive and come back even stronger next year.”

David Mulcahy, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition added: “What has been interesting this year is hearing the stories behind the menu creation, ingredient sourcing and inspiration for the dishes. The relationship between the chefs and what and why they produced each dish has really stood out for me this year. For example, we’ve noticed the difference in dishes coming from different areas of the country showing the importance of sourcing and seasonality. There has been so much positivity around this year’s brief of vegetarian starter, duck and cherry main course and classic tart and the chefs have truly risen to this challenge.”

In addition to the NCOTY announcement, Craft Guild of Chefs has also revealed the young chefs going forward to The Young National Chef of the Year final. Heat winners Danny Young from Northcote and Henry Wadsworth from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons are to be joined by the five highest scoring young chefs from both the London and Sheffield heats. These were named as Arthur Bridgeman Quin from The Punchbowl Inn, Daniela Tucci from The Art School Restaurant, Thomas Reeves from L’Enclume, Alex Walker from 21 Hospitality Group and Jacob Gosselin from Highlands Academy of Culinary Arts.

They join Amber Francis, ‘Highest Achiever' in the Craft Guild of Chefs’s Graduate Awards and apprentice chef at The Ritz, and Frances Attwood from Simpsons Restaurant who won the British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year. The final place went to Sam King from The Ritz London.

The National Chef of the Year competition is run in partnership with KNORR, Lockhart Catering Equipment, Nespresso and SousVide Tools. It is supported by British Premium Meats, Cacao Barry, CCS, Churchill, Direct Seafood, Evolve, Mash, OpenTable, UNOX and Ritter Courivaud.

You can follow all the action from NCOTY by following @Craft_Guild and #NCOTY on Twitter or visit the website  

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