Meet the National Chef of the Year semi-finalists: George Blogg
With just a few days to go until the National Chef of the Year London semi-finals we caught up with head chef at Gravetye Manor, George Blogg who is competing in heat two.
Tell us how you first heard about the competition and what attracted you to enter?
I started my career as a chef aged 24, so a bit later in the game than most, and it wasn’t until I started working in my first Michelin starred restaurant a couple of years later (the Square with Phil Howard) when I began to realise the full extent of the hospitality industry. This included the NCOTY competition and the Craft Guild of Chefs.
I also remember seeing the winning framed medal and plate for the first time when I went to eat at Le Champignon Sauvage, hung proudly on the wall. Little did I know that two years later I would be working there, or even being in the NCOTY semi-final 10 years on!
I have no experience in cooking competitions due to entering the industry at a later age, but I do see them as a vital way to improve and push chefs to better themselves. My main objective is to be able to help encourage and guide younger chefs into competitions in the best way that I can and what better way to improve my understanding and prepare myself for this than entering one myself.
Where were you when you first discovered you had made it into the National Chef of the Year semi-finals?
Whilst at work I had some messages from two good friends; Matt Worswick and Sam Bowser, who are both in the semi-finals, but none of us knew the others were entering! Sam is even in the same heat. It’s a really strong group of chefs this year.
How did you celebrate your achievement?
With a new restaurant and new kitchen recently opened and a 10-month year old son, a smile to myself was all I had time for.
How are you preparing for the next stage of the competition?
With every spare moment; cooking, thinking and improving.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career so far?
It has to be Phil Howard and David Everritt-Matthias. Working for industry legends like those two is nothing short of inspiring.
Which part of the menu are you most looking forward to serving up and what was your inspiration for this dish?
The main course is my favourite, purely because I love hogget. Like all the dishes, I am just trying to show off the ingredients to their best, pair them together well and make them as delicious as possible.
How will you feel if your name is called out as a finalist?
Very happy as it will be an amazing opportunity for me to experience the last stage in the competition. But my thoughts will soon turn to preparing a two-week window so that I can fully concentrate on the final.
Tell us something that followers of the competition may not already know about you.
I studied for a BSc in Geology and MSc in Earth Sciences at The University of Manchester before deciding to cook full-time.