June, 2018
For immediate release

A strong focus on sourcing and seasonality, innovation and creativity are the key ingredients in creating a National Chef of the Year finalist

Following a series of exciting cook-offs at Sheffield College and Le Cordon Bleu, the Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed its ten talented chefs for the National Chef of the Year final. Under the watchful eyes of some of the culinary world heavyweights, four heat winners and six runners-up cooked up a storm to take their place in the UK’s most prestigious culinary final.  

Last week, Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle, took the first place in the NCOTY final when he won the Sheffield heat. Today he was joined by fellow heat winners, George Blogg from Gravetye Manor, Glenn Evans from Las Iguanas and Liam Fauchard-Newman who works at Rhubarb/Fenchurch.

Joining them at The Restaurant Show on the 2nd October are the six chefs who received the next highest scores across all four heats. These chefs were named as Martin Frickel from The Forestside, David Neilson who works at Number One at the Balmoral, Nick Smith from Harbour & Jones Ashurst, Kuba Winkowski from The Feathered Nest Inn, Stefan Sewell from CSCAT, Thomas Westerland who works at Lucknam Park.

Chair of judges, Gary Jones, executive chef from Belmond Le Manoir said: “What a week it’s been for the National Chef of the Year competition. Some of the cooking has been exceptional which made it a challenge for the judges to whittle 40 chefs down to just ten. What really stood out for me was how much the finalists listened to the brief this year and focused on the sourcing of their ingredients, considered seasonality when planning their menus, as well as showcasing their creativity and innovation. It’s set to be one of our most exciting finals yet and I can’t wait to judge it in October.”

Organiser of the competition and Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy added: “It wasn’t an easy brief this year with a vegetarian starter thrown into the mix and a very classic dessert brought in to truly test each chef’s culinary skills. However, the semi- finalists really embraced the challenge when putting together their menus. We saw a real variety of menus and this showed the diverse range of chefs we had from all sectors of hospitality. For those who didn’t make the top ten, I hope they have really learnt from this experience, and come back and try again next year. Whatever stage you get to, NCOTY helps every chef to grow and develop in some way.”

Before the final, all ten chefs will take part in a Mentor Day on Tuesday, 11th September where the mystery basket of ingredients will be revealed. Some big names have already been confirmed to judge the final exam which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, 2nd October including Tom Kerridge, Clare Smyth, Philip Howard, Ollie Dabbous and Mark Flanagan.

At today’s award ceremony, the organisers also revealed the six talented young chefs taking the Young National Chef of the Year final spots. This included heat winner from Sheffield, Jamie Mackinnon who works at The Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews. He was joined by the London heat winner, Henry Wadsworth from Belmond Le Manoir. Claiming the remaining places in the YNCOTY final are Jonathan Ferguson from Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Thomas Reeves who works at L’Enclume, Arron Tye from Grosvenor Pulford and Aaron Middleton who works at The Above Restaurant. These six chefs join Gilles Varone who works at Petrus and was the Highest Achiever in the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards, Luke Turner from L’Enclume who won the British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year and Supatthra Viriphan who works at Chewton Glen and represents World Skills. The final place will be the winner of the Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence which will be announced in July.

Following the Young National Chef of the Year heats, chair of judges, Mark Sargeant commented: “I know I say it every year, but these young chefs really could compete with the senior chefs. In all the years I’ve judged, I don’t think I have ever seen such enthusiasm and energy from a group of young chefs in a competition. It was incredible to see the level of food they put out in just 90 minutes. Hearing about where their ingredients had come from and their overall knowledge of sourcing and seasonality was really inspiring and the future is definitely in safe hands with so much young talent on its way through.”

 

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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.

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