Frequently Asked Questions:

Entry Criteria

Chairman of judges and Michelin starred restaurateur, Paul Ainsworth has collaborated in designing this year’s menu criteria. Competitors are required to produce a creative menu for 2 guests in 2 hours celebrating the very best of seasonal summer ingredients.


Consisting of 3 different plates per portion, for 2 guests (6 plates in total) all using the core ingredient of fresh Gilt head bream.“Think San Sabastian, modern style tapas”

  • Each dish must use bream in a different format and must make the best use of the fish in some way.
  • Judges will focus on using byproduct (bones etc) in the dish and a variety of techniques to create a starter dish.


A Lamb dish sourced from the UK&I coastline using both a prime and offal cut (2 cuts in total) suitably garnished.

  • Judges are looking for best use of accompanying summer vegetables, herbs and coastline flavours to enhance the lamb.
  • Competitors may clean, butcher and marinade the lamb elements in advance but prime cooking to be carried out on the day.
  • Sourcing and provenance of lamb is an important factor.


A showstopping dessert to competitors choice focusing on Strawberries and Cream

  • Judges will be searching for the best use of this seasonal classic with flair, innovation and creativity.

Entry Guidelines

Competitors should pay particular attention to:

  • Skills – a strong focus for judges
  • Taste & Flavour
  • Seasonality – (as the semi-finals take place in the month of June)
  • Sourcing & Provenance
  • Menu Balance
  • Wastage
  • Adherence to criteria
  • Mise en place allowed
  • Timing – menu must be capable of being prepared, cooked and served within a 2 HOUR TIMEFRAME

Mise en Place allowed

Unless stated in the criteria, no preparation is permitted other than:

  • Weighed ingredients
  • Peeled, not prepared fruit and vegetables
  • Basic stocks
  • Puff pastry, filo pastry
  • Egg custards (not set) and batters
  • Marinated meats or fish (where appropriate)

Please Note:

  • Unless otherwise stated, competitors are required to supply all food and specialist equipment. Semi-finalists will be advisedon all other equipment prior to the cook-off.
  • Competitors should be aware that cook off for semi-finals will be in June and should consider seasonal changes accordingly. 

Photography: seasonal variations will be allowed for the purposes of photographs accompanying competition entries.

Guidelines to completing your entry 

    • Select ENTER NOW
    • Create an account, a verification email will be sent to you – see image below

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  • Complete the entry - giving all details and uploading an image of the dish. (Remember to always save your entry) - see image below

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  • Once you have completed your menu select 'Move to basket' at the top of the page – see image below

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  • Now Click on Entries– see image below

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  • Select Edit on the right-hand side to access the entry – see image below

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  • Scroll to Basket Summary at bottom of entry - Tick Terms and conditions  – see image below

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  • Select Continue to move to Stage 2 - Personal Details
  • Complete Personal details and select COMPLETE

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  • You will receive a confirmation email that we have now received your email.

Additional Links:

To re-access your login page use the following link:

To access your entry, once registered – use the following link:

Dates to note:

Closing date for receipt of preliminary entries: 

  • Monday 15th June 2020

Announcement of the semi-finalists:

  • Friday 17th July 2020

Semi Finalist Videos:

  • Monday 3rd August 2020

Finalist Mentor Day: 

  • 7th September, London based venue

Grand Final and Awards:                                                 

  • Tuesday 29th September 2020 at The Restaurant Show, Olympia, London.

Wishing you the very best of luck with your application. Results of the preliminary entries will be announced on Friday 15th May 2020.


Don’t forget to follow The National Chef of the Year on Twitter

@Craft_Guild #ncoty

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