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12th September 2023

Craft Guild of Chefs celebrates over 100 Graduate Awards achievers after 2023 campaign

Written by: Edward Waddell
Nine talented and ambitious young chefs have made the grade in the Graduate Awards 2023. This successful year has taken the overall number of chefs who have passed the award to 102.

The results were revealed at a VIP Awards evening at Fortnum & Mason in front of examiners, sponsors, the media and industry friends.

The 2023 cohort of Kitchen Graduate Awards achievers include Jake Mills from Studio Frantzen; Nathan Cooper who works at Goldman Sachs, BaxterStorey; Chloe Williamson from Prestwold Hall and Georgia Hackett who is based at The Arts School.

Nathan Cooper was awarded the Highest Achiever and his mentor, Simon Webb, received the mentorship award for all his support during the process. Achieving this prestigious award opens doors to competitions such as the Young National Chef of the Year and offers the chance to enjoy culinary experiences.

In the Pastry exam five chefs passed including Tara Pasotti who works at Pennyhill Park; Jack Kirby from Heckfield Place; Charlotte Vicars who works for L’oscar London; Paige Hill from Penton Bridge Inn and Hoi Yan Tam from Sofitel London St James. Charlotte received the Highest Achiever recognition and Jack’s mentor, Ellen de Jager was announced as the winner of the pastry mentorship award. 

Ben Murphy, chef patron at Launceston Place said: “This awards ceremony brings an end to my first year as chair of examiners and I’ve loved the whole experience. It’s important to me to share my knowledge, skills and ideas with the next generation and this provides me with lots of opportunities to do so.

“The four chefs who achieved the award will benefit so much from having this on their CV and I really hope those who didn’t achieve the award come back next year. You learn so much from the whole process that will help you in your day-to-day work and future careers.”

For the kitchen exam, the chefs completed a paper test focusing on their culinary knowledge before heading into the kitchen at the University of West London for the fishmongery and butchery challenges.

In the afternoon, they had to follow a recipe for a spinach and ricotta ravioli as well as design and serve up their own recipe using the belly pork they prepared for roasting. The final challenge of the day was to make a classic dessert following a recipe put together by Andrew Ditchfield.

It was Will Torrent’s final year as chair of examiners for the Pastry Award and the senior development and innovation chef at Waitrose & Partners commented: “This year five fantastic young chefs achieved the pass mark after the highest number of entries we’ve seen enter the pastry award.

“This year’s brief focused on 5-star hotel dining, and it was really interesting to see the different ways the chefs pushed themselves to create some elements of an afternoon tea. Looking back, I am extremely proud of what my pastry committee and I have achieved with the Graduate Awards and I look forward to handing the baton over to Sarah Frankland, who I know will take the pastry award to new heights in the coming years.”

The Graduate Awards achievers receive a range of prizes to celebrate their success. NOWAH has donated a prize for the pastry chefs with four days in Italy. They will have two days of one-on-one instruction from Pastry World Cup Champion, Massimo Pica, at his renowned Pica Pastry School in Milan. In the evening, the chefs will have the chance to enjoy the sights of Milan and drinks overlooking the Piazza del Duomo.

They will also enjoy a visit to the KMP factory, followed by a hands-on session in the preparation of various doughs followed by a full day of relaxation and sightseeing in the city of Venice. Grande Cuisine will take the Kitchen achievers on an educational and gastronomy trip to France where they will visit the Paul Bocuse Market, specialist chocolatier, Sandrine Chappaz and the Athanor factory.

The Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards wouldn’t be possible without sponsorship from The London Meat Co, Oranka, Savoy Educational Trust, Reynolds, Meiko UK, Essential Cuisine, City and Guilds, Robert Welch, Continental Chef Supplies (CCS), James Knight of Mayfair, Worshipful Company of Cooks, CCE London Ltd, University of West London, Lakeland Dairies, Grande Cuisine, The Caterer, Maldon Salt, NOWAH, Wild Farmed, Villeroy & Boch and Daregal Gourmet.