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30th September 2020

Edwin Kuk wins Young National Chef of the Year final

Written by: Edward Waddell
Edwin Kuk, junior sous chef at The Art School Restaurant in Liverpool, has won the Young National Chef of the Year crown.

The focus for this year’s competition was on sustainability and chefs had to incorporate ingredients from the Knorr Future 50 Foods list.

Kuk served a starter of velouté of Wirral watercress and spinach with ravioli of organic Colston Basset cheese, walnut, Granny Smith apple and pickled celery. His main course was steamed loin of Norwegian cod wrapped in prawn mousse and served with beluga lentils, edamame beans, lotus root and Asian broth.

A dessert of cinnamon Pain Perdu, lemon verbena yoghurt ice cream with caramelised damsons, white chocolate and pistachio completed his winning menu.

Hrishikesh Desai, chair of judges for YNCOTY, said: “These finalists are the upcoming stars of our industry and we wanted them to be the catalyst for change and inspire their colleagues and peers.

“We had to tweak how we selected the finalists, but we invited a strong group of chefs who have already had success in other competitions; this led to an incredible final.

“On the day, Edwin’s dishes wowed all the judges and he was a very strong winner. He really understood how to create a balanced three course meal which was absolutely packed with flavours.”

As well as the title of YNCOTY 2021 Kuk has won the opportunity to grow professionally via a work development or trial session in a Michelin starred restaurant, courtesy of Knorr® Professional. He will join Michel Roux Jr for a culinary ‘trip of a lifetime’ to Norway where he will have the chance to cook a signature seafood menu for the press, chefs and industry members.

Kuk will receive a £500 voucher to spend within the CCS range and Churchill will be taking him to a European city for a gastronomic experience trip. A bespoke knife will also be made thanks to Savernake Knives.

Knorr® Professional is the headline partner of Young National Chef of the Year and Alex Hall, executive chef UK & Ireland, added: “It’s been inspiring to see how these young chefs have risen to the challenge set out by Hrishikesh and created delicious, sustainable dishes.

“At the YNCOTY mentor meeting last month, we talked about this initiative and how these chefs could lead the way in making real change. By switching overused and over-cultivated ingredients for more biodiverse alternatives, chefs can begin to influence the way consumers eat and how future generations of chefs cook, for a better food future.”

Eden Allsworth, demi chef de partie at Cliveden Hotel took the runner-up spot with Harry Paynter-Roberts, commis chef at Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms taking third place.

Organiser of the competition David Mulcahy, commented: “These chefs had to overcome the toughest challenges and restrictions to compete in this event, but all remained enthusiastic, well-prepared and determined to impress the judges.

“As we invite people to compete in this event, the Craft Guild of Chefs is always on the lookout for the next big name to join the list of winners. All the finalists have bright futures ahead of them and we can’t wait to see where this experience takes them next.”

Young National Chef of the Year is run in partnership with Knorr® Professional in association with CCS, Churchill, Seafoods From Norway and Quorn. It was hosted at Le Cordon Bleu London and featured as part of Hospitality Week.