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What will the Young National Chef of the Year contenders be cooking up at this year’s prestigious final?

Chefs competing in this year’s Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) final have discovered what they will be cooking up to impress the judges and try and take home the coveted title.

This year’s brief has been planned by Chair of Judges, Hrishikesh Desai and founder of the competition, David Mulcahy. Sustainability is at the heart of the brief after Hrishkesh was inspired by the Knorr Professional Future 50 Foods campaign. This initiative focuses on 50 of the foods we should eat more of to promote a more sustainable global food system. Ingredients have been selected based on their taste, nutritional value and low environmental impact. They include lesser-known varieties of grains, tubers, beans, sprouts, root vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, seeds and beans.

For the September final, YNCOTY competitors are allowed two hours to produce two plated portions of a three-course meal. The starter course will be an innovative vegetarian velouté with freshly prepared ravioli, suitably garnished as a light autumnal dish. This dish must include one or more of the following Future 50 foods - walnuts, sesame seeds, watercress, broccoli rabe and heirloom carrots.

This year the main course is an Asian inspired dish of the competitor’s choice using a fillet of Norwegian haddock or cod. The dish should be accompanied with a light sauce to finish it and must include one or more of the following Future 50 foods - cowpeas (black eyed peas), split yellow lentils, wild rice, sweet potato, pak choi, enoki mushrooms, saffron milk cap mushrooms and wakame seaweed.

For the dessert course, the judges are looking for a seasonal stone fruit and Pain Perdu. Judges will be looking for a modern interpretation of this classic bread and butter pudding dish.

Alex Hall, executive chef UK & Ireland for Unilever said: “Knorr Professional is once again proud to be the headline sponsor of the Young National Chef of the Year competition. At a time when our industry faces a challenge unlike any we have seen or experienced, it’s heartening to see the passion and enthusiasm that these young chefs show for their craft. What’s more, with the YNCOTY criteria this year shining a spotlight on issues of sustainability and promoting biodiversity, we’re delighted to be able to help educate the chefs of tomorrow on our Knorr Professional Future 50 campaign. In partnership with the WWF, the Knorr Professional Future 50 campaign will promote a more sustainable food future using diverse, varied ingredients – and it’s exciting to see this competition, and the young chefs who are part of it, leading the way on this.”

David Mulcahy, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs added: “It’s no surprise that Hrishikesh has created a truly exciting and relevant brief for these young chefs to get their teeth into. I believe that sustainability has never been more important, and the Future 50 Foods campaign will be brought to the forefront by these ten talented chefs who have been leading the way in young culinary talent over the last year. I’m also particularly inspired by the Asian infusion brief for the main course as this will really allow the chefs to show us their creativity and own personal styles. I’m confident the judges will have some delicious dishes to taste.”

The ten finalists are Nathan Lane, Charlie Crote, Ieuan Andrew Davies, Dervis Mustafa, Jamaar Semper-House, Harry Paynter-Roberts, Rebecca Mary Jackson, Eden Allsworth, Sagar Massey and Jacob Gosselin.

The cook-off will take place on Monday 7th September 2020 at Le Cordon Bleu, but the final will be aired as part of “Hospitality Week” on Tuesday 29th September. You will be able to find out the winner on Wednesday 30th September with a live online announcement following the coverage of the National Chef of the Year competition.

ENDS

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 07966 549619.

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.

Finalists for The Young National Chef of the Year revealed

The Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed ten talented young chefs who have been selected to compete in the prestigious Young National Chef of the Year final this autumn.

Due to the ongoing situation with Covid19, the selection process has had to be tweaked for this year. Rather than some of the chefs gaining a top ten spot through a semi-final, head judge, Hrishikesh Desai and organiser of the competition, David Mulcahy have handpicked the finalists based on recommendations from industry experts. The final decision on the line-up has come from extensive research and guidance from other leading chef competitions or industry associations. 

The criteria for the final will be announced at the end of June to give the finalists plenty of time to work hard in preparing for the competition, with the support of the wider industry. All finalists will be invited to an online webinar to chat to David and Hrishikesh about the competition and also to connect with each other.

The ten finalists are: -

  • Nathan Lane, chef de partie, The Greenhouse, Dublin
  • Charlie Crote, junior sous chef, Allegra
  • Ieuan Andrew Davies, chef de partie, Manor House
  • Dervis Mustafa, demi chef de partie, Petrus
  • Jamaar Semper-House, junior sous chef, Lucknam Park Hotel (Restaurant Hywel Jones)
  • Harry Paynter-Roberts, commis chef, Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms
  • Rebecca Mary Jackson, junior sous chef, Leila Lily's
  • Eden Allsworth, demi chef de partie, Cliveden Hotel
  • Sagar Massey, sous chef, Mar Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort
  • Jacob Gosselin, demi chef, Longueville Manor Hotel and Restaurant

David Mulcahy, organiser of YNCOTY and Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “When we began planning the campaign to find our next winner we could never have predicted the situation we’d find ourselves in. However, one thing has remained the same throughout this crisis and that’s our determination to ensure that this competition goes ahead. We have been listening to the Government guidance throughout and safety remains our top priority whilst giving the industry reasons to celebrate. The Craft Guild of Chefs has been determined to support the young chef community throughout this crisis. By personally inviting each finalist to get involved we know we have an incredible list of chefs lined-up. The brief will be fully revealed at the end of June, but it will have particular focus on sustainability as we team up with headline sponsor, Knorr Professional, and celebrate its inspiring Future 50 initiative.”

Chair of Judges for YNCOTY, Hrishikesh Desai added: “Just looking at this list of chefs I know it’s going to be an exciting final. I’ll be challenging the young chefs to be creative and making sure that excellence still prevails this year, regardless of the changes to the format. The criteria will be engaging with the spotlight on produce, sustainability and skills. After a difficult 2020, I can’t wait to bring our judges together for a unique and memorable final.”


The cook-off will take place on Monday 7th September 2020 at Le Cordon Bleu, but the final will be aired as part of the new and exciting “Hospitality Unites” week on Tuesday 29th September. Chefs and supporters will be able to find out the winner on Wednesday 30th September with a live online announcement following the coverage of the National Chef of the Year competition.

ENDS

Issued on behalf of the Craft Guild of Chefs by Digital Blonde Ltd. For more information about the event or to arrange interviews with winners, judges or organisers please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07966 549619.

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.

Craft Guild of Chefs reveals new plans for National Chef of the Year

With the hospitality industry facing its most challenging time with the Coronavirus crisis the organisers of National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure this year’s competition will still go ahead.

Despite the unprecedented times, there has been so much support for NCOTY, with chefs still keen to enter, despite facing uncertainty around their daily lives. The Guild has heard stories about the online entry stage providing inspiration and hope to chefs which has made them even more determined to ensure that the competition continues this year. However, for the safety of chefs, suppliers, judges, students and supporters some changes will need to be made.

Firstly, the online entry deadline has been extended to Monday 15th June to give chefs plenty of time to create their menus and access ingredients. From the entries received at that point, the judges, including Chair of Judges, Paul Ainsworth will whittle those down to the highest scoring 40 chefs.

With so much uncertainty around the length of the national lockdown and colleges, restaurants and workplaces being closed, it won’t be possible for the usual semi-final stage to take place. This means shortlisted chefs will go through to a new secondary round where they will be asked to present a small signature dish of their choice via a short video. This dish should reflect their personality and tell a story that sums up the chef in a couple of bites. The dish may be a memory that chefs draw from, a style of cuisine or reflect their own heritage, it could be based on a family memory or include their ‘hero’ ingredients. The choice is down to each chef as the judges want to see their creativity.

Additionally, as part of this second stage, chefs will be sent four supplementary questions to answer briefly and submit online. These questions will ask for further information on their initial three course menu and it is their opportunity to share more details on their dishes. In August, the judges will select their top ten chefs, based on everything they have seen, to take through to the final.


At The Restaurant Show, the final ten competitors will be invited to serve-up their original three course menu using Paul Ainsworth’s brief. This will ensure that efforts at the entry stages are not lost and judges will have the opportunity to sample each chef’s hard work. However, there may be some additional ‘must use’ ingredients added which will be shared once all finalists are announced.

To support chefs over the coming months, the Craft Guild of Chefs will be running a series of webinars with judges, sponsors and former winners, with the aim of inspiring chefs during this time. Webinars will include advice on keeping motivated, taking good food photography, how to record videos on a mobile phone as well as how to create a standout online entry. A list of planned webinars will be added to the National Chef of the Year website, emailed to everyone registered and promoted via the Guild’s social media channels.


To help chefs understand this new process for the competition, the Craft Guild of Chefs has created a FAQs document on its website at www.nationalchefoftheyear.co.uk. Chefs can also email any additional questions to the organisers via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “We want to ensure every chef has a fair opportunity to take one of the ten places at The Restaurant Show and that the industry really has something to celebrate later this year. Whilst many chefs aren’t currently able to work, we want to help them use the coming months to learn and be inspired by other chefs, suppliers, judges and industry leaders. This allows them to be more ready than ever to get back to business and take their careers to the next level as soon they can. This year, NCOTY isn’t just about winning a title, it’s about us inspiring chefs and giving them hope, strength and positivity during the most challenging time of their careers.”

Chair of Judges, Paul Ainsworth added: “My focus on finding the most talented chefs in the UK hasn’t stopped throughout this crisis and I’ve had many calls with David over the last few weeks to make sure we can still hold a fantastic final at the end of September. Whilst the UK and hospitality industry faces continued uncertainty, one thing is for sure. Our industry is resilient, and chefs will come back from this; probably stronger than ever. People are going to enjoy eating out more than they have done after this experience and at that time we’ll be ready to showcase the best chefs the UK has to offer. However, you must be in it to win it so use this time wisely and make sure you submit the best menu you possibly can. The judges are already looking forward to tasting ten of them in the final.”

Entries should be completed on the NCOTY website at www.nationalchefoftheyear.co.uk. Chefs should register asap to receive the latest competition updates and list of upcoming webinars.


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, Direct Seafood, HIT Training, Ritter Courivaud Ltd, Boiron Freres, OpenTable, Unox, CCS, Wearertech and Winterhalter. ENDS 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.

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.

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