Thursday, 1st February, 2018

The search for the next National Chef of the Year gets underway

After an unforgettable 2017, with Lucas Selby taking the National Chef of the Year title, the Craft Guild of Chefs has begun its quest to find the next UK chef to take the crown.

Luke Gary and David

Widely-regarded as the most respected and prestigious culinary title, National Chef of the Year has a 46-year history of winners including Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sargeant, Simon Hulstone, Alyn Williams, Russell Bateman and latest Michelin starred recipient, Hrishikesh Desai. 

To take the sought-after title, chefs must complete an online entry form and then battle it out in one of four tough semi-finals, cooking up three courses in just two hours. Finalists must then impress some of the biggest names in the chef-world at a live final at The Restaurant Show in October.

David Mulcahy, Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of NCOTY said: “We’ve seen some of the most talented chefs join the list of winners in National Chef of the Year and last year was no exception. Lucas Selby is definitely a chef to watch having also earned the Graduate Award, Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) and Roux Scholarship. But we need a new chef to follow in Luke’s footsteps and are proud to launch this year’s campaign. We’ve worked hard to put together a brief that will truly show what this competition is all about – the best produce, classic skills and seasonality. I challenge all UK chefs to push themselves out into the spotlight and enter, as whatever stage you get to, NCOTY provides opportunities that will define careers.”

The National Chef of the Year brief asks chefs to produce a creative menu for two guests. It should consist of a seasonal plant based vegetarian starter of the competitor’s choice incorporating suitable grains or pulses; a lamb main course to include two cuts and two cooking methods suitable for the summer season; and a modern approach to a classic ‘floating island’ dessert dish, to include a seasonal fruit element of the competitor’s choice.

The lamb for the main course should be sourced from the UK with competitors needing to indicate the breed of lamb and the farm it’s sourced from. Full details of the brief and an online entry form can be found at

Gary Jones, Chair of the judges and executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir, shared his inspiration behind this year’s brief: “The focus has been on two key things – showcasing our exceptional British produce and evolving chefs’ skills. I feel passionate about this brief and believe it will display the emerging talent that our UK chefs have to offer. I look forward to seeing how each individual chef interprets the brief to their own style. The written entries must entice our judges as only 40 chefs will be selected to compete in the semis and only 10 will reach the final. So keep it brilliantly simple, on point, on time and true to your own culinary flair. Get ready to impress our judges as NCOTY opens so many opportunities and I can’t wait to help judge some of the most-talented up and coming chefs in the UK.”

The competition is open to chefs who are 24 years or older on February 1st, 2018. Competitors may come from all areas of the hospitality industry including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors and may be working in the UK or overseas.

Current NCOTY, Lucas Selby encouraged chefs to enter this year: “Winning the title of National Chef of the Year has always been an ambition of mine since I took the YNCOTY crown back in 2014. Having followed the careers of previous winners, I have seen the doors this competition opens. Whilst it was the hardest competition I’ve ever done, it was absolutely worth it to hear my name called out and I would recommend the experience to all chefs.”

Luke Selby NCOTY

Chefs have until Friday, 30th March, to submit their entry and a shortlist of 40 chefs for the semi-finals will be revealed on 18th May. This year’s heats will take place at Sheffield College on Tuesday, 12th June, and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Tuesday, 19th June. Ten chefs will go through to the National Chef of the Year final, which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, 2nd October.

The National Chef of the Year competition is run in partnership with KNORR, Lockhart Catering Equipment and Sous Vide Tools and is supported by Evolve, Ritter Courivaud, UNOX, CCS, Churchill, British Premium Meats, Mash and Direct Seafood.


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 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.

After a gruelling two-hour cook-off in front of a packed audience at The Restaurant Show, the Craft Guild of Chefs has today revealed The National Chef of the Year 2018. Luke Selby, took the top spot after impressing over 20 judges with his starter, main course and dessert. His menu included a starter of sea vegetable minestrone, mussels and farfalle pasta served with a poached scallop, British caviar and a lemongrass scented buttermilk sauce; a main course of roasted fallow deer, blackberry, celeriac, sprouts and bacon served with a venison sauce finished with chocolate; and a dessert of warm walnut almondine, ginger infused bramley purée, caramelised cox apple filled with an apple compote with cinnamon and ginger ice cream.

Luke has been successful at major Craft Guild of Chefs events including achieving the Graduate Award in 2013, being crowned Young National Chef of the Year in 2014 and now winning the UK’s most prestigious culinary title.

Taking the second-place spot was Adam Thomason, head chef at Restaurant Associates - Deloitte and in third place was Simon Webb, head chef, Private Dining at Langham Hotel.

The National Chef of the Year is run by the Craft Guild of Chefs. To be crowned as the winner, a chef has to complete a paper entry, compete against 39 other chefs in a semi-final and impress some of the biggest names the industry has to offer in front of an eager audience at the final. Judges included Tom Kerridge, Sat Bains, Simon Rogan, Claude Bosi and Andrew Pern as well as former NCOTY winners, Simon Hulstone and Frederick Forster.


David Mulcahy, organiser of The National Chef of the Year and Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “I think this year has been one of the most hotly anticipated finals we’ve seen for some time. The level of cooking was incredible and all ten finalists gave our judges a very difficult task. The reason we have The Young National Chef of the Year is so that we have a pipeline coming through for competitors who want to go on and aim for the senior competition. The Craft Guild of Chefs support chefs at every level from school to early stages of their career to special moments like we’ve witnessed today.” 

Chair of judges, Gary Jones, executive chef of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons commented on the competition: “I have loved being the Chair of judges today, the competition just gets better every year and it truly is an incredible event. The National Chef of the Year is brilliant for the industry and everyone involved are great ambassadors in showing the skills today’s chefs bring to hospitality. We had some young judges involved this year and they worked alongside the more experienced, established judges, and it has been very successful. The way Luke Selby is so focused is unique for such a young guy and it is a huge achievement to win both young and senior titles.”  

Talking about his win today, Luke Selby said: “I am speechless. The National Chef of the Year is such a fantastic competition. I wasn’t expecting it at all and I’m blown away that I’ve now won both competitions. I’ve been practising every single day for the last few weeks so am looking forward to celebrating and then getting some rest.”

As well as that all-important title of ‘The National Chef of the Year’, the winner will claim a whole host of incredible prizes. This includes his own recipe book and media training session from KNORR; an all-expenses paid trip to Mexico courtesy of Lockhart Catering; two days in Switzerland to take their exclusive place at The Nespresso Chef Academy Training Programme; an exclusively designed and framed winners plate and medal as well as an additional prize of £500 worth of Churchill product; the opportunity to design their own chocolate in the Cacao Barry Or Noir lab, which they will then receive for their own use, and one year of membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Le Cordon Bleu London is also offering the winner a guest chef appearance and the chance to showcase their skills to students, and invited guests, at the prestigious London culinary school. Petrus is giving a meal for two at the restaurant and a one-week work placement to the top three chefs.

There was more exciting news from The Restaurant Show as Danny Young, junior sous chef from Northcote Manor was revealed as The Young National Chef of the Year winner. Danny has finished in second and third place in the YNCOTY competition over the last two years showing that determination and perseverance pays off. Arthur Bridgeman Quin, junior sous chef at The Punchbowl Inn was announced in second place and Thomas Reeves, chef de partie at L’Enclume was confirmed in third.

Danny cooked a starter of Norwegian haddock, salt & vinegar black peas; a main course of potato crisps, dashi “Caviar”; rare breed miso beef, oriental mushrooms, crispy kale, coriander; and a dessert of warm orchard apple syrup sponge and Horlicks ice cream.

Commenting on his achievement, Danny Young said: “To be honest, it’s not really sunk in yet. This is the third time I have competed in The Young National Chef of the Year and I’ve worked so hard over the last few months to develop my skills.”

Danny will receive a stage to the value of £2,500 courtesy of KNORR; Norwegian Seafood Council will arrange for them to join Michel Roux Jr for the culinary trip of a lifetime to Norway; Churchill are teaming up with Nigel Haworth and Northcote Manor to provide the winner with the ultimate gastronomic experience at the 2018 Obsession event; and one year’s membership to the Craft Guild of Chef’s will be gifted.

Mark Sargeant, Young National Chef of the Year ambassador said: “It’s been an exciting and close final, and the future of the industry is in safe hands with these chefs. Something that really stands out to me today is seeing previous winners of this competition battling it out in the senior final and of course, Luke Selby going on to win it is the icing on the cake for YNCOTY. Winning this title is simply the start of what will be a long and successful culinary career and I’ll certainly be following Danny Young over the coming years to see where this title takes them.”

Daniela Tucci, from The Art School in Liverpool was announced as the winner of the Churchill ‘People’s Choice’ Award for exceptional presentation of the main course. This year the prize had a couple of new twists. For the first time, it went across both competitions - seeing the young chef’s dishes compete with those in the senior competition. The award also went to the best dish rather than the competitor with the most votes across all courses. Ultimately providing a winning dish, based on the food presentation.

You can continue to follow the story of the competitions on Twitter with @Craft_Guild and #NCOTY and #YNCOTY and on the website at


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 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.

Meet your Heat 2 London semi-finalists

On Tuesday, 20th June, 2017 we will be heading to Le Cordon Bleu London for the National Chef of the Year and Young National Chef of the Year semi-finals.
Ahead of the day we’ve heard from some of those semi-finalists about how they are feeling and what it would mean to them to hear their name called as the winner.

Luke Selby

You can keep-up-to date with the news from Luke by following @lucas_selby.

“It's a huge competition and something that I've always wanted to take part in. I feel like the time is right for me now to enter. It is exciting that Gary Jones has just taken over as chair of judges. It’s a great brief this year which encourages me to showcase skills and English produce.

I was so happy to hear that I was chosen to be in the semi-finals but very aware that from now on it's going to be a lot of hard work! It would be a huge achievement to win the competition and to have my name alongside the past winners would be such an honour.”

Marcin Szelag

You can follow Marcin on Twitter using the handle @MsSzelag.

“Any competition for a chef is a great learning tool and occasion to meet great people. National Chef of the Year is the most prestigious and for me a great opportunity to present my skills and hopefully create winning recipe combinations. This year’s brief, as every year, is very challenging and open for using fantastic seasonal ingredients. A vegetarian starter can be tricky as many chefs add meat or fish to their dishes and I think judges will be looking for great balancing of flavours. Main course for me is very exciting as there is an amazing opportunity to show that you can use every part of the duck and put it on the plate without wasting a bit of it. Dessert needs to be simple but perfectly delivered to let the dish speak for itself.

This is my second time to attend the competition and just like the first time I am very excited about being given the opportunity to go further in the competition! To be chosen out of hundreds of menus and get to the semi-finals is already a great achievement. I can’t wait for the chance to cook my menu for the most talented and greatest chefs in the country! All chefs are determined to get to the finals and win the competition so it’s not going to be easy. I don't think I could put into words how I would feel if I were to win!”

Luciano Lucioli

Follow Luciano on Twitter with @LucianoLucioli.
“I entered NCOTY because it is the most prestigious competition in UK and a great platform for career development and I thought the brief this year was a great choice.

This is my third time in the semi-finals, but it was still as exciting to hear I was going through as the first time. It is great to be shortlisted together with other talented chefs. I am looking forward to presenting dishes I created for the judges and hopefully get great feedback.

Winning would be the greatest achievement of my career to this date. It would also be a great feeling to be on the winners list of the exceptional chefs like Gordon Ramsey, David Everitt-Matthias, Alyn Williams and many others.”

Kuba Winkowski

You can follow Kuba on Twitter using @Chef_Kuba

“I decided to enter the NCOTY competition, because I wanted to challenge myself and to try my skills against other professional chefs. I think the brief this year gives a lot of flexibility and room to express yourself, but as well to test the chef’s skills and creativity. Obviously, I was very happy to be in semi-finals, but as well strangely nervous and excited for the whole day.

I am looking forward to meeting all the judges as a lot of them are chefs I have been looking up to in different stages of my development as a chef. Winning would mean a lot. I am a very competitive person so winning always feels good, but it would be an honour to be recognised by top chefs in the UK.”

Scott Perkins

Keep up-to-date with Scott’s news by following @scottperkins17 on Twitter.

“It is my career goal to win the competition, this is the first year I have entered and to get through to the semi-final is great! I thought the brief was a fantastic opportunity to bring back classic dishes with some modern interpretation, keeping flavours simple and showcasing great product from suppliers. I was very happy to be in the semi-finals, it’s exciting to get through and be part of a prestigious competition. This together with working at the London Gellar College of Hospitality and Tourism, provides a way to inspire students to enter their own competition and lead by example.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to showcase my style and personality to the industry’s leading chefs. Winning would be an achievement I would be very proud of, I would love to use the title to inspire more young people to have a career in the hospitality and showcase what you can achieve.”

Andonis Paraskevas

You can follow Andonis on Twitter with the handle @Adonakis83.

“I decided to enter the competition because I wanted to compete at a higher level and test myself against top chefs. The brief is very good and diverse as it puts chefs under pressure and makes you think outside the box. When I read that I was in the semi-final I could not believe it. I was over the moon and excited beyond belief. Wining would be the biggest career achievement so far and would make my family proud. I would share the knowledge and exposure with my team of chefs.”

Simon Webb

Watch the updates from Simon Webb using @chefsimonwebb36 on Twitter.

“I entered the competition again as it is one of the best competitions in the UK. Having competed against some of the world’s best I have the desire to compete and win and to be known as one of best competitions chefs in the UK.

I loved the brief again this year so I just couldn't help myself. It allows chefs to showcase seasonal produce using classic and modern skills. I was super chuffed to be named amongst the semi-finalist alongside some big guns.

On the day, I am looking forward to cooking my dishes to my best capability. Hearing my name being called out for the final would be unbelievable. I have had the desire to win NCOTY for some years now. Seeing others win every year makes me want it more and more. It would be a privilege to win and represent the Craft Guild of Chefs and be named alongside the previous winners list.”

David Davey-Smith

Follow David Davey-Smith on Twitter with @davey_ds.

“I entered National Chef of the Year to better myself, my abilities and to do better than two years ago. I love the buzz of a busy competition and the chance to get my food critiqued by such an esteemed panel. It’s an opportunity I wanted to grasp. The brief for 2017 was excellent, both challenging and creative. For the semi-finals, I am feeling both excited for the challenge but nervous as I really want to do well. I am looking forward to producing my dishes under pressure, I enjoy the buzz of a good service, and maybe a few cold beers after! I'm not thinking as far as winning, at the moment I'm just taking one step at a time. My goal is to be better than my previous entry, anything else is a bonus.”

Nick Smith

Keep up to date on Twitter by following @Niknakchef.

“I wanted to enter NCOTY to test my abilities and knowledge as a chef. It is a hugely recognised platform where I'm able to try and achieve this and be judged by the very best within the industry. To have the opportunity to be a semi-finalist & to cook my paper entry is a huge milestone for me.

The brief for me this year is exciting, testing and with a real focus on seasonality & provenance. It made me think about how to be creative and modern but still keep sight of my classical skills that my dish foundations encompass. The high regard that NCOTY is held in is an amazing competition for a chef to be involved with, even with the paper entry there is a real awareness on how good it must be to get through. To see your name on the list of chosen chefs is for me an overwhelming experience, I was totally thrilled beyond words to be one of them. The next stage is a challenge but one I aim to rise too as well as enjoy every minute and soak up the whole experience. Being able to present my paper entry into real form and cooking the dishes that I love really excites me.

To reach the final of the competition would mean the absolute world to me, this in itself is a career high. So, if I was to become the next winner of NCOTY, I would struggle to find the words to express the achievement of winning such an accolade.”

Meet some of your National Chef of the Year Sheffield semi-finalists

The first National Chef of the Year semi-final takes place at Sheffield College tomorrow (Tuesday, 6th June) and we’ve got an incredible list of chefs in this first heat. Only the winner of the heat will be guaranteed a place in the live final at The Restaurant Show whilst the rest of the chefs will need to wait until the London semi-finals have taken place to find out whether they’ve made it.

Here’s a reminder of all the chefs competing in our first heat.

  • Ian Boden, development chef, Flourish Food Solutions
  • Jack Bradley, head chef, Temple Sowerby House Hotel
  • Ben Champkin, sous chef, L'Enclume Restaurant
  • Dan Graham, head chef, Talbot Hotel Malton
  • Tom Lawson, chef patron, Rafters Restaurant
  • David Stevens, conference and meeting sous chef, The Balmoral Hotel
  • Mathew Shropshall, chef lecturer, UCB - College of Food
  • Matthew Ramsdale. sous chef, The Chester Grosvenor
  • Dean Westcar, head chef, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park
  • Aled Williams, head of development and innovation, TRUEfoods
  • Liam McKenna, sous chef, Trump International
  • Jamie Coleman, head chef, Saunton Sands Hotel

We’ve been catching up with some of these chefs to find out how they’re feeling ahead of the competition, what they thought of the brief and what winning would mean to them.

Matt Ramsdale

You can follow Matt on Twitter @chefmattrams and Instagram @matt_ramsdale.

“I decided to enter NCOTY after watching and following the competition for several years. Seeing what idols of mine can achieve and seeing chefs go from humble roots to becoming the National Chef of the Year made me realise that could be me. You need to push to achieve the best you can. This year’s brief was tough, not all chefs like vegetarian food, and although I'm not one of them, veggie food isn't my strongest. But after some trial and error, I found what I believe is a beautiful combination. Duck and cherries is so classic that it was almost too simple, but I knew the judges were looking for flair and the chef to stamp his or her mark so I feel I've taken a risk. Let’s hope it pays off. Dessert was a comfortable area of mine, so a classic tart put a big smile on my face.

Getting an email letting me know I’d made the semi-finals made my jaw drop. To be selected, alongside some of the countries strongest and most talented chefs is an honour and to be part of it all has made me want it even more. I can't wait to get in the kitchen and show the judges what I can do. Cooking and creating is what I live for, food is my life, so I can't look forward to anything more than just cooking with everything I've got! To win NCOTY would be life changing. It would give me the drive and the confidence to help me be the chef I believe I can be one day.”

Ben Champkin

You can follow Ben on Twitter using @champkin7792.

“I thought I would give the NCOTY competition a go because I like to challenge myself, better myself and it's the first year I can enter within the age limit. I loved the brief this year and that’s one of the reasons I entered. It was very clear to me what the judges were looking for in this competition. When I found out I’d made it into the semi-final I felt very honoured to cook for some of the best chefs in the UK and compete against other great chefs. I’m looking forward to nailing the cuisson on my duck and delivering my dishes exactly how I have practiced them. Winning would mean everything to me. It would be a great achievement to be on the board with the elite of chefs. To say I've won the Young National Chef of the Year title in 2013 and NCOTY in 2017 would be incredible.”

Dan Graham

You can follow Dan on Twitter with @dangraham21.

“I originally entered the NCOTY competition as I feel I'm in a position where I can actually challenge to win it. After all what's the point in entering if you don't think you could win. I'm 35 and been a chef since the age of 16. I've worked so hard to get where I am but still don't feel I've had my big break yet. I'm hoping NCOTY can be the platform which I'm looking for. I was runner-up in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2009, however it was before I had Twitter or other social networks, so I’ve never really managed to promote myself from it.

I love the brief this year, being the age I am, I'm a very classically trained chef and the brief lends itself to the more classic base of chefs. Saying that, I still produce a modern British style of food but use the classic techniques I trained in to produce this style. I like the fact the starter is vegetarian as some of my best dishes are vegetarian. You can't get much more classical than duck with cherries and then a classic tart. I'll be using my experience from working for the Roux family to nail the dessert course, whilst giving it a modern twist.

I was so shocked when I found out I had made it through, I'm generally good at controlling my emotions but I was all over the place when I heard. I didn't know where to put myself, I was so excited but really scared at the same time. For the first couple of hours I felt sick and I'm still getting butterflies just thinking about it.

I think meeting all the chef judges is going to be my highlight. I've followed a number of them through the years, used their cook books and eaten in their restaurants. It's going to be hard not to be star struck to be honest but hopefully I don't make a fool of myself by asking for autographs.

I'd imagine that every chef in the competition will say the same thing about how winning would mean the world to them and how it will change their life. But at this stage in my career I don't see anyone wanting it more than I do. I suppose you could say it's now or never for me. I'll be giving it everything I've got to win the competition.”

Aled Williams

You can follow Aled on Twitter using @chef_aled

“I entered this year’s NCOTY as I believe it is one of, if not THE biggest competition open to professional chefs in the UK. It is very exciting to be up against some of the best chefs in Britain at the moment. The brief is clever as it is challenging us to take a lesser regarded vegetarian starter and pushing us to elevate our skills. The duck in the main course needs to have crisp fat but beautifully pink meat and it will go really well with cherries. Having a tart as a dessert is also difficult as there are so many techniques to get a perfect tart but nowhere to hide if it doesn't go your way on the day.

My wife rang me to let me know I was chosen to be in the semi-finals. I felt elated and excited to be given this opportunity to test myself against some great chefs. I am really looking forward to cooking for the judges as it's the ‘who is who’ of the industry. To be given praise and recognition by some of my culinary idols would be a proud moment. Winning the National Chef of the Year title would be the biggest achievement of my career, and there are many career highs I am proud of. I would also potentially be the first Welsh chef to do so and that would be an added incentive to be crowned the National Chef of the Year.”

Ian Boden

Keep up to date with Ian’s news by following @ianboden on Twitter.

“I have entered a few times before, and I made the final in 2008. I enjoy competing against some of the best chefs in the industry, it’s great to see what others are cooking and it’s great for networking. The brief for this year is interesting and I thought it was something that I could deliver well. I like some of the classic inspirations including cherry and duck, and a seasonal tart, it will be interesting to see how everyone interprets these. I’m most looking forward to seeing how I compare against the rest of the field and hopefully I will not embarrass myself. Having worked hard over the past 22 years it would be fantastic recognition from my peers in the industry to win this competition, especially as most of the judges are chefs that I greatly admire.”

Jack Bradley

You can follow @chefjbradley on Twitter.

I entered NCOTY last year and reached the semi-finals. It was such a worthwhile and fulfilling experience that it was impossible for me not to re-enter and I'm so happy I did. The brief this year is truly outstanding and very inviting. I can't think of a better brief for a chef wanting to prove their worth. When I got the news that I was through to the semi-finals I was elated. It's been a constant thought for almost a year and it is a privilege, one that I don't take lightly. I'm excited about every part of the next stage, and hopefully getting the dishes out perfectly. The thought of winning is indescribable. It would mean the world right now.”

Dean Westcar

Keep up-to-date with Dean’s news on Twitter by following @DeanWestcar.

I decided to enter NCOTY as I wanted to push myself, and see how I stood up against some of the best chefs in the country. The brief this year is great, not only testing basic skills but testing your creativity on brilliant simplicity. I was overwhelmed to hear I had made it through to the semi-finals. After applying before and not making the cut, knowing that I had ticked the right boxes this year put a massive smile on my face. This week I am looking forward to cooking my dishes for the judges and receiving their feedback. It’s always an honour cooking for chefs that have inspired you throughout your career.

Winning would mean everything! To be among the chef's that have won it in the past and following in their footsteps would be incredible. Knowing that the judges have enjoyed eating my food over the other chefs will feel surreal.”

David Stevens

Follow the tweets from David at @dcs_18.

“I entered the NCOTY competition to test myself against the best chefs in the UK. The brief for this year is really good for the amazing seasonal produce we have in Scotland. I was ecstatic to make it to the next round! I was told I had made it through by my girlfriend who also works in the hotel. I’m really looking forward to cooking my food for the judges in the next round. It will be very humbling to win and this would definitely be a career highlight.”

Tom Lawson

You can follow Tom on Twitter using @Lawson_chef.

“I entered NCOTY because I wanted a challenge that would push myself beyond my comfort zone and I thought the brief was excellent. As soon as I read it the ideas began flowing as to what I was going to cook. I really like the fact that the brief is so open-ended so I am excited to see how all the chefs have interpreted it in their own style.

When I found out I was in the semi-finals I was over the moon. I submitted my entry quite a while before the deadline so it has been a long wait to find out if I made it through. Now I am just looking forward to getting in the kitchen and cooking to the best of my ability. I am most looking forward to the nervous energy in the kitchen. There will be some fantastic chefs in the kitchen judging us and I am excited to show them what I can produce. Winning NCOTY would mean a huge amount to me. It is one of my life goals.”

You can follow the action of the semi-finals on Twitter from @Craft_Guild. Get involved with the competition using the hashtag #NCOTY and look out for the announcement of our first finalist in the afternoon. 

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