Skip to main content

Paul Ainsworth, chair of judges for the Craft Guild National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) competition, revealed the brief for the upcoming competition.

The judges want to learn about each chef and capture the essence of what the last year has meant for them through their menus. Each course has its own theme taking into account a different element of what every chef has experienced.

This year NCOTY is challenging entrants to create a menu that tells their story of the 2020 pandemic through food. To enter this year's NCOTY competition, visit: https://nationalchefoftheyear.co.uk/live/en/page/enter. From all the entries received by Monday 31st May, the judges will whittle them down to just 40 chefs who will then be invited to the second stage.

Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs David Mulcahy said: “Whilst the NCOTY competition’s focus is very much about moving forward, this year’s brief encourages chefs to reflect on the last year and tell their own personal story through food.

“There is no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered in history for generations to come and we want to capture those memories via three delicious dishes.”

The three-course menu must include:

  • Starter - To produce a vegetarian starter dish for two guests focusing on the Future50 ingredients incorporating fresh seasonal produce.
  • Main Course: Your interpretation of a main course dish for two guests as a Land & Sea dish. Any cut and any species of meat or fish sourced from the UK&I, fully garnished and individually plated.
  • Dessert: Celebrating the Great British Pudding. Your twist on an individually plated dessert for two guests served warm or cold.

Chefs who make it through will be asked to create a further dish in a bid to battle for one of just ten sought-after places in the final. The final will take place in London in September with the chefs being part of a documentary.

Chair of judges Paul Ainsworth said: “When looking at the competition this year, we discussed the highs of the 2020 event and explored which elements we could keep and develop to ensure NCOTY stays relevant and exciting. This year the brief gives chefs more freedom than ever to create a menu that is personal to them, to their love of food and their style of cooking.

“I’m a huge believer in telling a story through food and can’t wait to see the creativity on display as these menus come in and learning about the chefs’ personalities through their food. The winning menu is one I want to see go down in history as a true reflection of the part food has played in the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The winner will not only the trophy but they will take home a host of impressive prizes including culinary experiences, equipment and trips of a lifetime.

To watch the full NCOTY webinar, visit here.

Latest The National Chef of the Year News

26th Mar 2021

Craft Guild of Chefs to host NCOTY webinar

By: Edward Waddell
The NCOTY competition gives chefs an exciting opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight and show their culinary talent to the wider hospitality industry. Since The National Chef of the Year’s

More The National Chef of the Year News

07th Aug 2020
The ten chefs will now compete for the 2021 NCOTY crown in a cook-off at Le Cordon Bleu in September. David Mulcahy...
25th Mar 2020
In this short video Mulcahy explained: "We are experiencing extremely difficult and challenging times, some of the most...
16th Mar 2020
Chefs who want to compete should register for a National Chef of the Year account at: www.nationalchefoftheyear.co.uk to...
06th Feb 2020
New chair of judges Paul Ainsworth has collaborated in designing this year’s menu criteria. Competitors are required to...
24th Jan 2020
Ainsworth takes over from Gary Jones, executive head chef at Le Manoir, who has led the team of judges for the last three...
08th Oct 2019
Groves served a menu of red mullet, shellfish mousse and bouillabaisse sauce, followed by a main course of suckling pig...
06th Feb 2019
Despite the cold British weather, organisers are focusing on warmer times as competitors are required to produce a creative...
03rd Oct 2018
Judged by 21 of the UK’s leading chefs, the panel, once again overseen by Gary Jones (executive chef of Belmond Le Manoir aux...
26th Sep 2018
When judging National Chef of the Year entries, it was found that Campbell had not only entered the competition, but his menu...
20th Jun 2018
Described by competition organiser, David Mulcahy as a ‘phenomenal day,’ he praised the chefs for making this year’s heats...