ncoty17


Friday, 18th May, 2018
For immediate release

The Craft Guild of Chefs reveals 40 chefs in the running for National Chef of the Year

After an intensive day of judging the Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed the 40 chefs they will be taking through to the next stage of The National Chef of the Year. With many new faces entering this year, the candidates gave the expert panel of judges a difficult task.

Overseen by Gary Jones, executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir as Chair of judges, David Mulcahy, Alyn Williams, Peter Joyner, Andrew Bennett, Russell Bateman, Phil Howard, Steve Scuffell, Sarah Hartnett, Gary Hunter and Willie Pike whittled the impressive list down to 40. At this stage, all judges scores are based on an online entry including descriptions of dishes, cooking method and photographs of the completed menus. Chef names and workplaces are removed for the judging process, so judges are purely scoring on the dishes submitted.

The competition is open to chefs who are 24 years or older as of February 1st, 2018. Competitors come from all areas of the hospitality business including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors.

The Sheffield semi-final will take place on the morning of Tuesday, 12th June 2018 and will include:

Heat 1

  • Aled Williams, head of development and innovation, TRUEfoods
  • Daniel McGeorge, head chef, Rothay Manor Hotel
  • David Neilson, senior chef de partie, Number One at the Balmoral
  • Derek Johnstone, head chef, Borthwick Castle
  • Josh Adams, development chef, Sousvide Tools
  • Kacper Walor, sous chef, Ladhar Leisure/ Pleased To Meet You
  • Martin Frickel, senior sous chef, The Forestside
  • Matt Worswick, head chef, Matt Worswick at The Latymer
  • Matthew Ramsdale, sous chef, The Chester Grosvenor
  • Zoltan Szabo, executive chef, Blythswood Square Hotel Glasgow

Three heats will be completed at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Tuesday, 19th June 2018 and these will include:

Heat 2

  • Adam Thomason, executive chef, Restaurant Associates at Deloitte
  • Andonis Paraskeva, executive head chef, Lusso Catering CH&Co
  • George Blog, head chef, Gravetye Manor
  • James Cousins , senior sous chef, Restaurant Associates at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Kuba Winkowski, head chef, The Feathered Nest Inn
  • Marcin Pomierny, head chef, The Maids Head Hotel
  • Nick Smith, head chef, Harbour&Jones / Ashurst
  • Sam Bowser, head chef, Dormy House
  • Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, Nordic Catering
  • Virginia Ramiro Mendez, sous chef, Vacherin/Royal Bank of Canada

Heat 3

  • Aaron Ashmore, head chef, Clarette - Chateaux Margaux
  • Daniel Jones, head chef, JT at 3 Main Street, Fishguard
  • Glenn Evans, head of food, Las Iguanas
  • Jamie Park, head chef, The Frog E1
  • Joseph Fallowfield, sous chef, The Elephant
  • Jozef Rogulski, executive head chef, The Stafford Hotel London
  • Luciano Lucioli, head chef, Private Chef
  • Paul O'Neill, head chef, Cliveden House Hotel
  • Stefan Sewell, defence chef instructor, CSCAT
  • Thomas Westerland, head chef, Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa

Heat 4  

  • Daniel Tilinger, sous chef, Social Wine and Tapas
  • David Davey-Smith, chef instructor, Royal Air Force
  • Fraser Bruce, head chef, The Tate Gallery St Ives
  • Garreth Wilson, head chef, Titanic Belfast
  • Liam Fauchard-Newman, senior sous chef, Rhubarb / Fenchurch
  • Martin Kilbey, executive head chef, Sodexo
  • Nat Tallents, executive chef, Lewinnick Lodge & The Plume of Feathers
  • Sam Astley-Dean, sous chef, Elystan street
  • Stefano Leone, executive head chef, D&D London / Royal Exchange Grand Cafe & Sauterelle
  • Terry O'Riordan, executive chef, Compass group UK & Ireland

The winner of each heat will automatically be seeded into the final which takes place on Tuesday 2nd October at The Restaurant Show. It will then be down to the highest scores across all four heats to discover which six chefs will complete the line-up.

Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the UK’s most prestigious culinary competition, David Mulcahy said: “I am delighted with the quality of entries for this year’s National Chef of the Year. The task set focused on key skills, provenance of produce and a modern interpretation to classic dishes. We have seen some exciting innovation and creativity from the entries. It is encouraging to see many new faces entering this year and with a diverse selection of chefs from all sectors we are in for a great series of semi-finals.”

Gary Jones, Chair of National Chef of the Year judges, added: “When we set the brief we wanted the focus to be on two key things – showcasing our exceptional British produce and evolving chefs’ skills. What we’ve witnessed in the judging process is that the chefs have stepped up to the mark with creative and innovative ideas. There’s only ten places up for grabs in this final and we’ve got some seriously talented chefs in the running. Over the coming weeks I expect these 40 chefs to put the work in and be ready to impress the judges in Sheffield and London. Only the best will make it.”

Andrew Bennett, new Chair of the Craft Guild of Chefs was taking on one of his first tasks in his new role. He commented: “The National Chef of the Year continues to go from strength to strength and having judged this competition over many years, it is amazing to observe how it has transformed with the times. As the new Chair of the Guild, I’ve been able to view the competition in a different light. It’s a key element of what the Guild do so well.”

Those who get through to the top ten will have the opportunity to cook for some of the biggest chef names in the UK with many judges for the final already lined-up. This includes Clare Smyth, Tom Kerridge, Philip Howard, Ollie Dabbous and Mark Flanagan.

The National Chef of the Year is organised in partnership with Bunzl Lockhart and KNORR and supported by Evolve, Ritter Courivaud, UNOX, CCS, Churchill, British Premium Meats, Mash, Santa Maria, Electrolux, Sousvide Tools and Direct Seafood.

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 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.

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 www.nationalchefoftheyear.co.uk

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.

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 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.

NCOTY-YNCOTY.jpg

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 www.nationalchefoftheyear.co.uk

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 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.”

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