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Eight young chefs achieve the Graduate Award in 20th anniversary year

In what has been a year of celebration for the Graduate Awards, the Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed that five chefs have achieved its Kitchen Award and three passed the Pastry Exam.

The announcement was made at a prestigious 20th anniversary lunch at The Royal Lancaster Hotel in London in front of the finalists, examiners, sponsors, the media and industry friends.

Guests received a goody bag which included the 20th anniversary recipe book with dishes from over 60 of the chefs who have achieved the Graduate Award since it was founded by Steve Munkley in 2002.

Achieving the Kitchen Award this year are:

  • Alex Doyle, Marcus Belgravia
  • Benjamin Mabley, Hartwell House Hotel and Spa
  • Billy Etheridge, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
  • Harry Donnelly, The RAF Club
  • Jonathan Smith, Gravetye Manor

Three chefs achieved the Pastry Award:

  • Ana Catarina Nogueira De Melo, Intercontinental Park Lane
  • Miles Slater, Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa
  • Katrina Atienza, University of West London

The Highest Achiever in the Kitchen exam was Jonathan Smith and in the Pastry event Ana Catarina Nogueira De Melo took this prize. They will enjoy a trip to Lyon courtesy of Grande Cuisine where they will visit the Paul Bocuse Market, dine at a Michelin-Starred restaurant and have a tour of the state-of-the-art Athanor factory.

All the chefs who achieved the award received a framed certificate from the Craft Guild of Chefs, an Achievers Plate from Villeroy and Boch, a personalised tour of the iconic Fortnum and Mason London store with tea tasting plus opportunities for Stages in one of many restaurants.

All finalists received one year’s membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs, a personalised Continental Chef Supplies (CCS) jacket and a Robert Welch chef’s knife.

George Blogg from Gravetye Manor was revealed as the winner of the Kitchen Mentorship Award and Ben Christopherson, senior lecturer at the University of West London received the same accolade in the Pastry exam.

Founder of the Graduate Awards and vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Steve Munkley said: “I feel extremely proud to be celebrating 20 years of the Graduate Awards. We’ve not missed a single year since it started, despite the challenges the industry has faced during this time. One of the reasons it remains so successful is that every year we look at ways we can improve and update the event to reflect the needs of young chefs and the industry.

“I love following the careers of those who take part in the Graduate Awards and know from my work across the industry how valuable it is for a young chef to have this achievement on their CV. In a time when hospitality is struggling to attract and retain chefs and skills, it is vital to have events like this to celebrate, inspire and encourage young talent.”

Special recognition and thanks were given to the sponsors who have remained involved in the Graduate Awards since it started in 2002 including Continental Chef Supplies (CCS), James Knight of Mayfair, The London Meat Co, Reynolds, Savoy Educational Trust and Villeroy and Boch.

Will Torrent, chair of pastry examiners and senior development and innovation chef at Waitrose, commented: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being chair again this year and am proud to have worked alongside such an incredible line-up of examiners. We’ve had our biggest cohort of finalists since the Pastry Award was introduced following changes to allow students and other pastry roles, such as chocolatiers and bakers, to enter.

“Congratulations to the three pastry chefs who passed the exam and I hope those who didn’t make the final or achieve the award will come back next year as this event offers ambitious chefs plenty of opportunity to grow and develop both personally and professionally. I’ll be back next year leading the Pastry Award and look forward to revealing more about our plans.”

The Award is also currently sponsored by Oranka, Meiko UK, Essential Cuisine, City and Guilds, Robert Welch, Mars Foods, Worshipful Company of Cooks, CCE London Ltd, Hoshizaki UK, University of West London, Tilda, Lakeland Dairies Foodservice, Grande Cuisine, The Caterer, Redefine Meat, Adande, Eurilait, PizzaSi UK, Indeed Flex, Wrapmaster and Maldon Salt.

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