If you are still unsure whether to enter National Chef of the Year this year we’ve been speaking to organisers and judges involved in the competition to find out why people enter.
1.Whatever stage you get to you will learn from the experience. Even those who get to the first round will have taken time out of their busy kitchens to think about, research and plan their menu. It provides an opportunity for you to do something for yourself, without the pressures of the day job.
2. This competition is famed for not only its long list of winners, but also the quality of chefs who freely take time to help find the next champion. On the final day, the number of Michelin chefs at The Restaurant Show ranges from 20 to 30 stars. NCOTY provides you with an opportunity to cook for some of the country’s best chefs.
3. We see chefs come back year after year to put themselves through the ultimate culinary challenge. Breaking the daily routine in your life is good for the mind and this provides you with an opportunity to really put your skills to the test.
4. You could be the next chef to join the Hall of Fame. NCOTY has seen names such as Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sargeant, Simon Hulstone and Alyn Williams take the crown.
5. NCOTY can change careers almost overnight. The most recent winners, James Devine and Larry Jayasekara talk about the few days after being announced as the winner - from the huge number of tweets, to phone calls from the judges, to appearing on the front cover of The Caterer,you will find yourself known throughout the culinary world with so many new and exciting opportunities from that moment your name is called.
6. We work with our sponsors and PR and marketing team to help raise the profile of semi-finalists, finalists and the overall winner. You will be involved in many exciting media opportunities not only in the year you win, but for years to come.
7. If you speak to any of the judges or winners they will all describe it as the UKs most prestigious culinary challenge. It’s a title so many chefs strive to win as each round provides new experiences and challenges and the level of judges mean the winner truly has been put to the test.
8. Throughout the competition, there are opportunities to network with other chefs. From meeting judges at the semi-finals, to talking to sponsors at the mentor day to mixing with many of the industry elite at the final. Many judges will admit to looking to NCOTY competitors when looking for senior chefs to join their team.
9. For most chefs, the reason they enter is simply to take the title but there are many prizes on offer for the winner. This includes once-in-a-lifetime culinary trips, stagiaire opportunities, equipment from sponsors and the famous framed plate.
10. Reaching the final means you will have the opportunity to cook at The Restaurant Show. For most chefs, this is an exciting and adrenalin-filled experience and the memories you make will last a lifetime. Lots of the event is live-streamed and shared on social media and you just never know who could be watching, either in the audience or online.