Extended deadline for National Chef of the Year

In these challenging times, many chefs have been asking us what will be happening to National Chef of the Year and the upcoming deadline. Our social media team has also advised us there has been some tweets with chefs confirming they are using this time to work on NCOTY entries and this has given them some positivity.

With the final taking place until the autumn, we are working hard behind the scenes to put plans in place to ensure we have a fantastic final at The Restaurant Show. However, we recognise that at the moment there is difficulty in getting hold of some ingredients and equipment which you may need to complete your entry. We want as many chefs as possible to have the opportunity to enter NCOTY and therefore have extended the deadline until Monday 15th June. The brief will remain the same and over the coming weeks we will share another update about how the next stage of the competition will work. In the meantime, here’s the latest update from organiser, David Mulcahy >>

Make sure you are following the Craft Guild of Chefs social media channels over the coming weeks as they will be sharing some advice and videos from former competitors, judges and current chair, Paul Ainsworth. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Dear chefs, partners and supporters of National and Young National Chef of the Year   

In these extremely challenging times we are very conscious of some of the early impacts on our industry and the devastating effects on many of our industry colleagues and friends.

Our priorities are changing on a daily basis as we deal with any number of issues where we are making difficult decisions which affect us all as well as our families and friends.

In the face of these challenges we are already witnessing some amazing gestures of kindness and goodwill, coming together as a community and supporting each other at this time.

With many events being delayed or cancelled our focus is on making sure that we do all in our power to assist and support those in the most need. 

Being a resilient and resourceful industry we will come through this and look to the future.

In terms of National and Young National Chef of the Year, I am conscious that there have been a number of queries regarding any changes to dates and plans for this year’s competition programme. NCOTY has been running for almost 50 Years and we are proud of the legacy and how important it is to chefs across the UK and beyond. Given the situation today and level of uncertainty for the coming weeks and months, we will do everything to be as flexible as possible regarding dates and any changes necessary.

Please be assured we have your interests at heart and will publish changes as they happen. In the meantime please look out for updates, stay safe and look out for each other.

Chefs invited to compete for the National Chef of the Year 2021 title

Chefs from all sectors across the UK have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of head chef, Steve Groves from Roux at Parliament Square as entries are now open for the National Chef of the Year competition.

The new Chair of judges and Michelin starred restaurateur, Paul Ainsworth has collaborated in designing this year’s menu criteria. Competitors are required to produce a creative menu for two guests in two hours, celebrating the very best of seasonal summer ingredients.

Chefs must make a starter consisting of three different plates per portion, for two guests all using the core ingredient of fresh Gilt-head bream. Ainsworth wants chefs to think “San Sebastian, modern style tapas”. Each dish must use bream in a different format and must make the best use of the fish in some way. Judges will focus on how competitors have used by-products in the dish and are looking for entrants to showcase a variety of techniques in their starter.

For the main course, chefs must create a lamb dish sourced from the UK and Ireland coastline using both a prime and offal cut, suitably garnished. Judges are looking for the best use of accompanying summer vegetables, herbs and coastline flavours to enhance the lamb. Competitors may clean, butcher and marinade the lamb elements in advance but prime cooking must be carried out on the day. The sourcing and provenance of the lamb is also important.

Finally, Paul and his team of judges are looking for a showstopping dessert of the competitor’s choice focusing on strawberries and cream. Judges will be searching for the best use of this seasonal classic with flair, innovation and creativity.  

It is recommended that chefs register for a National Chef of the Year account at www.nationalchefoftheyear.co.uk straight away to read the full brief. They will then be able to update the entry and save it as they add more to it over the coming weeks. Chefs have until Friday, 3rd April, to submit their final entry and a shortlist of 40 chefs for the semi-finals will be revealed on Friday 15th May. This year’s heats will take place at Sheffield College on Monday 15th June, and at Westminster Kingsway in London on Monday 22nd June. Ten chefs will go through to the National Chef of the Year final, which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, 29th September 2020.

The current National Chef of the Year, Steve Groves said: “Winning the National Chef of the Year is an incredible honour and one of my proudest moments. For me, it's the UK's top chef competition and the chefs associated with this event are the shining lights of our industry. The connections I made throughout and since the competition are invaluable and have been a real boost to my career.”

As he prepares to take on his first head judge role for National Chef of the Year, Paul Ainsworth added: “When considering the criteria for this year, I wanted to be able to excite and inspire chefs when they saw this brief, and I hope as you are reading it, your mind is already whirring with ideas. My advice is to make the best use of your ingredients, focus on flavour and avoid waste by using by-products. Keep it local, fresh and simple. Over the next few months I am going to be on the hunt for the best chefs and I’d absolutely love to see more females entering, so please help to make this happen by encouraging all chefs to give it a go.”

The National Chef of the Year competition is open to chefs who are 26 years or older as of 29th September 2020. Competitors may come from all areas of the hospitality business including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors and they may be working in the UK or overseas.

Organiser of NCOTY and Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy said: “As we launch another year of competition, we are full of anticipation as we wait to see who will be throwing their chef’s hat into the mix and entering the UK’s most prestigious culinary title. Steve Groves is already proving to be an outstanding winner and former champions such as Kuba Winkowski have become true ambassadors for the competition, so this is about so much more than the cooking on the day. When Paul first told us his ideas for the brief, we knew that this would inspire chefs from across the hospitality industry. So whatever sector you work in, get involved, show us what you’ve got, and you could find you are the National Chef of the Year 2021.”

The National Chef of the Year competition is run in partnership with Knorr Professional and is supported by Churchill China UK Ltd, Mash Purveyors Ltd, Evolve Hospitality Recruitment Ltd, Santa Maria UK Ltd, Valrhona Ltd, Bidvest Fresh Ltd, HIT Training, Ritter Courivaud Ltd, Boiron Freres, OpenTable and Unox.

 

Issued on behalf of the Craft Guild of Chefs by Digital Blonde Ltd. For more information about the event or to arrange interviews with candidates, judges or organisers please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07967 823854.

Craft Guild of Chefs

The Craft Guild of Chefs is the largest UK chefs’ association with members worldwide in foodservice and hospitality, from students and trainees to top management working everywhere from Michelin starred restaurants to school catering divisions.

Paul Ainsworth announced as Chair of Judges for The National Chef of the Year

The Craft Guild of Chefs has announced that Paul Ainsworth will take over as Chair of Judges for its 2020 and 2021 competitions. He takes over the role from Gary Jones, executive head chef at Le Manoir, who has led the team of judges for the last three years and crowned Steve Groves, Kuba Winkowski and Luke Selby as winners.

Paul is Chef Patron of the Paul Ainsworth Collection and has been selected by the Craft Guild of Chefs to bring new ideas to the competition. The Guild regularly changes its chair to ensure the competition grows, develops and entices the best chefs in the UK to enter.

Organiser of the competition, David Mulcahy who is Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “Paul has been on the judging panel in the past and has helped us to discover some amazing winners. He has shown real integrity in his judging style and will bring a wealth of experience to what’s regarded as the UK’s biggest culinary challenge. We’ve already started working with him on the plans for the year ahead and we are excited by what he’s set to bring to the competition. Sustainability has been at the heart of The National Chef of the Year for many years but under Paul’s guidance, we are going to see this more than ever. All chefs should be ready and waiting for the brief to be revealed and to start working on their entries as it’s going to be an incredible year to enter.”

Paul Ainsworth has given a taster of how he will be putting his own spin on the competition, adding: “I am absolutely committed to this role and believe it’s important to lead from the top so my judging will be honest, firm and honourable. As head judge, I’ll be watching semi-finalists and finalists closely during the cook-offs and making sure the team of judges are working hard throughout the two hours to find the right winner. The full brief will be revealed next month but I’ll be going back to basics so that all the chefs need to think about, is making food that is truly delicious and showcases their own style, skill and flair. Whilst it’s important this competition remains current, it’s a cooking competition at the end of the day and I want the competitors to produce food that appeals to all five senses. As judges we just want to taste food that makes us say ‘wow’.”

The National Chef of the Year competition will be open for online entry next month and chefs should follow the Craft Guild of Chefs social media channels for updates using @Craft_Guild on Twitter, @CraftGuildofChefs on Instagram and through Facebook at www.facebook.com/craftguildofchefs. Chefs who would like to be added to the NCOTY mailing list and be notified when entries open should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send a message via social media.

 

Issued on behalf of the Craft Guild of Chefs by Digital Blonde Ltd. For more information about the event or to arrange interviews with candidates, judges or organisers please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07967 823854.

Craft Guild of Chefs
The Craft Guild of Chefs is the largest UK chefs’ association with members worldwide in foodservice and hospitality, from students and trainees to top management working everywhere from Michelin starred restaurants to school catering divisions.

About Paul Ainsworth
Southampton-born Paul Ainsworth is the successful chef and businessman behind Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Caffe Rojano, Padstow Townhouse, Mahé Cookery School and Chef’s Table, all located in Padstow, Cornwall. In 2006 Paul became head chef at Padstow’s No.6. Paul and his wife Emma took over the business in 2009 and earned the restaurant a Michelin star four years later. The restaurant has become synonymous with high-quality ingredients served simply, while incorporating playful twists. In 2011, Paul acquired Rojano’s in Padstow, a Mediterranean restaurant opened by Stanley Rojano in 1974. In a nod to Paul’s mentor Gary Rhodes, the restaurant was renamed Rojano’s in the Square in 2011, with their classic Italian dishes proving popular with guests. In 2020 Paul and Emma purchased the lease to the building and carried out a full rebrand, renaming it Caffe Rojano and implementing a fresh New York/Italian inspired menu. Padstow Townhouse opened in 2015, a six-suite guesthouse in Padstow’s Old Town, realising the couple’s dream of offering their diners somewhere to stay. 2018 saw the launch of the Paul Ainsworth Academy in partnership with Truro & Penwith College, offering hospitality students paid experience across all five of Ainsworth’s businesses. In May 2019, Paul and Emma reopened The Mariners pub in Rock, Cornwall in partnership with Sharps Brewery. 2019 also saw the launch of Mahé Cookery School and Chef’s Table, the couple’s fourth Padstow venture. With Executive Chef, John Walton at the helm, it’s named after an island in the Seychelles, Mahé takes its name from the location where Paul’s parents first met.

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