Graduate Awards finalists announced in anniversary year

17/08/2017 14:08
The Craft Guild of Chefs has announced that 27 chefs will be going through to the finals of its 15th Graduate Awards – 15 for the kitchen and 12 for the pastry final - after showcasing their skills in the northern and southern semi-finals respectively. The chefs, all under the age of 23, battled for their place in the final on 15 June at either the University of West London or Sheffield College.

Out of the 36 participants, only 15 will be chosen for the kitchen final and 12 for the pastry, which will be announced during a special 15 year anniversary celebration lunch cooked by former graduates Richard Edwards, Mark Froydenlund and Selin Kiazim.

Having already been observed during the semi-finals by the panel of examiners - led by chair Russell Bateman, head chef at Colette’s at The Grove - the remaining chefs will be tested during the Kitchen Award final taking place at the University College Birmingham on 22 August, by the following:

  • Ioannis Mexis, Elystan Street
  • Bronwen Jenkins, The Royal Garden Hotel
  • Jessica Deakin, The Compasses Inn
  • Joe Payne, Andre Garrett Restaurant Cliveden House
  • Gilles Varone, Petrus restaurant
  • Raymond Steplin, House of Commons
  • Chor Fai Shek, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
  • Vince Vermeulen, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
  • William Keeble, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
  • Adam Phillips, Colette’s at the Grove
  • Lewis Kuciers, the Black Bull at Blidworth
  • Rory Seaman, Wiltons

Amy Rose Plumb from Titchwell Manor Hotel, Lorenzo Fleurie from Islington County House Hotel and Hannah Catley from Chiltern Firehouse have already been selected to take part in the Pastry Graduate Awards final.

Vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Steve Munkley said: “When you look at the list of chefs going through to the final exam, I think we’ve got our strongest one yet. We really threw in a curveball as the chefs were asked to create a dish using Quorn, courtesy of our sponsor. It is an ingredient that very few will use regularly in their own workplaces but it was amazing to see the ideas and dishes they came up with.

“I’m delighted that we have reached our 15th year and have added the Pastry Award into the mix. Over recent year’s we’ve seen former graduates go on to win Young National Chef of the Year and two of them, Luke Selby and Ben Champkin, join the 2018 senior final. It shows what a fantastic platform the Graduate Awards can provide.”

Russell Bateman, chair of examiners added: “We saw some really impressive cooking at the heats. The exam is very focused on chefs’ skills and culinary knowledge and that’s why I am so proud to judge. The list of establishments putting young chefs into this exam is great to see and a testament to how highly regarded the Graduate Awards are in UK kitchens.

“My advice to all the finalists is put in the work over the next two months as on the day the chefs that stand out will be those who have practised, listened to advice at the mentor day and can show us how much they want this.”

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