The Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards 2013 open up more opportunities for young chefs

23/05/2013 09:05
Mentoring from top chefs, ‘foodie’ trips for finalists and an annual reunion for alumni are up for grabs for high achievers of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ annual Graduate Awards examinations.

Now in its second decade, these awards offer working chefs under the age of 23 the chance to prove they really are at the cutting edge, and this year it incorporates a host of new incentives.

It has also been confirmed that renowned chef Paul Gayler, who is known for his Eurasian cuisine as executive chef at London’s Lanesborough Hotel, is this year’s chairman of examiners.

Craft Guild vice president and organiser, Steve Munkley, said the awards were evolving and the new elements built on 11 successful years of celebrating the best young chefs.

“We’ll be having a mentor day for those who pass the initial cooking test, and I’ll be creating some video tutorials with master craftsmen covering aspects of the exam,” he said. “We’re also planning to take finalists on a couple of ‘foodie’ trips to places like the fish and meat markets.

“Now we are in our 11th year, we have built up a great group of former winners, and to give them the opportunity to meet up, share experiences and network, we are also introducing an annual reunion for our alumni. This will include an informal but educational outing of some kind, the first one this summer hosted by Tony Reynolds of Reynolds’ fruit and veg empire.”

Munkley, who is also executive chef at London’s Royal Garden Hotel, now wants to hear from young chefs who would like to enter this year’s Graduate Awards. Five out of 12 candidates passed last year’s final exam, achieving the 85% needed to make it into the Craft Guild hall of fame.

After submitting entries by email, a select few will be asked to take a regional cooking test at University College Birmingham or the University of West London in Ealing on June 27. Chefs who make it through will then take a final cooking exam at University of West London on September 5, judged by top chefs including Gayler.

This year’s successful graduates will be announced in front of many influential guests at an awards presentation at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Towers Hotel on September 16.

Graduates will also win a European study tour, while the highest achiever receives an extra special prize. There is also an Employers’ trophy for excellence in training.

Sponsors for 2013 are: AAK, CCS, Essential Cuisine, Gram, James Knight of Mayfair, Meiko, Reynolds, Savoy Educational Trust, The London Meat Company, Villeroy & Boch and Warner Hotels (Bourne Leisure Group).

The deadline for entries is May 17, and chefs do not have to be members of the Craft Guild to enter. Ingredients will be supplied but chefs must bring their own knives and small equipment.

In a bid to be ‘greener’, the Craft Guild is inviting chefs to download and submit their application forms online at where potential graduates can also peruse a Q&A. For more information, call 0208 948 3870 or email

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