Skip to main content
7th June 2024

Craft Guild unveils 27 semi-finalists for Young National Chef of the Year competition

Written by: Edward Waddell
Over the next few weeks, some of the rising stars of the culinary world will be putting their creative skills to the test as they design innovative menus in a bid to become Young National Chef of the Year.

The Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed the names of the 27 chefs in the running as well as a thought-provoking criteria for entries. Competitors will be allowed two hours to create a three-course meal.

To give the judges a first taste of their cooking, chefs will serve up a filled vegetarian agnolotti pasta dish suitably garnished. They are asked to use an ingredient which has been foraged or sourced locally within this starter.

For the main course, the chefs need to create a dish using fresh Norwegian halibut served with a Douceur de France butter-based sauce which is suitable for a pescatarian guest.

To finish the menu, candidates are required to create their own interpretation of a filled choux dessert. This dish should incorporate fresh fruit with a complementary seasonal Boiron puree of their choice.

The choux pastry element is to be produced in the skills test prior to the cook-off. This dessert brief will give the young chefs a chance to shine, and the judges are encouraging ‘out of the box’ thinking and a fresh approach to create a well-balanced, delicious and pleasing finale to the overall menu.

Entries from the invited young chefs will be reviewed by the judging team to determine ten candidates to join two seeded finalists - Nathan Cooper who was the Highest Achiever from the Graduate Awards and the winner of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards for Excellence.

All twelve finalists will be invited to cook their menus at the live cook-off which will be held on Tuesday 8th October at the University of West London. This year’s winner will be unveiled at a VIP Awards evening at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square.

Chair of judges, Russell Bateman who is head chef at the Falcon Hotel in Castle Ashby, said: “This is my first year heading up the competition and when setting the brief, I wanted to take the young chefs back to basics so we can really assess their skills and creativity.

“They will need to think about ingredient choices, seasonality, flavours, balance, and showcasing strong techniques. This is their opportunity to show the judges who they are as a chef when they step away from their workplace and we can’t wait to see their individual culinary style, personality and talent laid out on the plate.”

Chefs invited to take part in this year’s semi-final are:

  • Oska Ready, junior sous chef, DN1 Delicatessen and Dining Room, Doncaster
  • Sam Everton, hospitality and catering lecturer, Coleg Ceredigion, Cardigan
  • Jacob Gosselin, junior sous chef, The Longueville Manor Hotel, Jersey
  • Lewis Nicholas, junior sous chef, Lympstone Manor, Devon
  • Keira Carolan, demi chef de partie, Henrock, Windermere
  • Jake Mills, demi chef de partie, Dorian, Notting Hill
  • Chloe Williamson, sous chef, Prestwold Hall, Leicestershire
  • Georgia Hackett, chef de partie, The Art School, Liverpool
  • Jonny Smith, senior chef de partie, Gravetye Manor, Sussex 
  • Nathan Johnson, junior sous chef, Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath
  • Nicole Watt, ABCS, RN Embassy Admiralty House
  • Oliver Porter, apprentice commis chef, House of Commons
  • Keaton Cooper, chef de partie, The Angel at Hetton
  • Ciaran Tobin, demi chef de partie, The Dorchester
  • Polly Norman, demi chef de partie, The Savoy
  • Johan De Sousa, commis chef, The Savoy
  • Maurizio Fra-Scionti, chef de partie, The Corinthia
  • Jack Edgar, senior chef de partie, The Atlantic Hotel, Jersey
  • Reuben Flatman, demi chef de partie, Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons
  • Rosie Welch, chef de partie, L'Enclume, Cartmel
  • Patrick Leahy, chef de partie, Rogan & Co, Cartmel
  • Henry Pratt, senior chef de partie, Northcote
  • Simon Perkins, commis chef, Cardinal, Edinburgh
  • Matt Robinson, sous chef, Eleanore, Edinburgh
  • Kameca Gayle, sous chef, Genuine Dining Company/Spotify
  • Nathan Cox, senior chef de partie, Hand and Flowers, Marlow
  • Callum Barbour, senior chef de partie, The Star Inn, Harome

David Mulcahy, competition director and food innovation & sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, added: “Young National Chef of the Year continues to grow from strength to strength with this year’s list of invited competitors proving that the culinary talent pool across the UK is in great shape. Under Russell’s guidance we are guaranteed an incredible final and I wish all chefs the very best of luck.”

The Young National Chef of the Year competition is supported by Seafood from Norway, Les Vergers Boiron, Douceur de France, Churchill and HIT Training.