Meet the National Chef of the Year semi-finalists: Liam Fauchard-Newman
Liam Fauchard-Newman is a senior sous chef for Rhubarb / Fenchurch and tomorrow he will join the National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) stage when he takes his place in heat four of the semi-finals. We’ve been chatting to him to get his thoughts on what it feels like to be part of the competition this year.
Tell us how you first heard about the competition and what attracted you to enter?
Ever since I moved to London in 2011, I’ve known about the competition. I’ve always wanted to enter National Chef of the Year. The reason for entering in 2018, is it is such a great opportunity to be part of a prestigious and challenging competition. Even more so are the prospects of launching my career even higher and serving delicious tasting food which the judges will enjoy and remember.
Where were you when you first discovered you had made it into the National Chef of the Year semi-finals?
I was in the middle of a very busy lunch service at work when I received a text from my old head chef, Mark Kempson congratulating me on getting through. I hadn’t yet seen the results posted on Twitter so it was a huge shock but excellent news and a great way to find out.
How did you celebrate your achievement?
I didn’t really celebrate as we still had a busy service to finish however I ran over to the junior sous chef at work and told him straight away. A chest bump and a high five later we got back to service. However, if I make it to the finals, then it will definitely call for a real celebration.
How are you preparing for the next stage of the competition?
After finding out the news of getting through to the semi-finals, every day I’ve been preparing in any way I can. Whether its developing dishes, tasting, tweaking and tasting again. I think everyone is fed up of eating ‘Ile flottante’ at work now.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career so far?
My biggest inspiration has to be Mark Kempson, who is the head chef of Kitchen W8 and was a NCOTY finalist in 2015. Working with Mark has shown me how to take the skills I had and hone them into being an even stronger chef and how to run a very successful restaurant. As a chef, he is one of the best in London. In the kitchen, he pushes harder than anyone else I know and as a businessman he has hit the nail on the head. Mark Kempson is a chef’s chef who knows how to make delicious food to a high level consistently. He is an excellent teacher and a huge inspiration to my career.
Which part of the menu are you most looking forward to serving up and what was your inspiration for this dish?
The dish I am most looking forward to serving is the dessert; a forgotten classic which until the competition, I’d never cooked myself. After plenty of research and developing, I’ve created a dessert which I’m very proud of and can’t wait to see what the judges think. The inspiration came for the dish from my mum’s home country of Reunion Island, “a floating volcanic island”.
How will you feel if your name is called out as a finalist?
“Shut the front door”. I’ll be ecstatic beyond words, I don’t think I could explain.
Tell us something that followers of the competition may not already know about you.
The first thing I ever cooked at home was scrambled eggs on toast.