Meet the National Chef of the Year semi-finalists: Fraser Bruce

Fraser Bruce

Fraser Bruce is the head chef at The Tate Gallery in St Ives and next week he will take time out of his usual kitchen and claim his spot in heat four of National Chef of the Year. Before we get to taste his dishes, we wanted to find out a little bit more about him.

Tell us how you first heard about the competition and what attracted you to enter?

I first found out about the competition through social media, and many chefs that I admire have competed here in the past and have gone on to have very successful careers.

I felt the need to set myself a new challenge and measure as to where I feel I am at professionally. Personally, I wanted to prove a point to myself, and my peers. Having the opportunity to compete in such a prestigious and recognised competition, I’m hoping will be a huge platform to further my career.

Where were you when you first discovered you had made it into the National Chef of the Year semi-finals? 

I was at a local gin festival in St Ives with some friends.

How did you celebrate your achievement?

Given my surroundings I had a few more drinks to celebrate the news.

How are you preparing for the next stage of the competition?

Practising and improving each element of my dishes at every given opportunity! I’ve also been doing as much research as I can to try and give myself an idea of what to expect on the day.

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career so far?

A previous head chef taught me so much about work ethic and was a massive influence on my career. Most recently I would have to say my partner as she is expecting our first child and at a time where she probably needs more help than anybody she has devoted all her energy and time to help me. That is true inspiration.

Which part of the menu are you most looking forward to serving up and what was your inspiration for this dish?

I would say my dessert, as it was perhaps the most difficult for me to put pen to paper and decide how I was going to put a modern twist on this classic. It was about trying to innovate but keeping the fundamentals the same. My inspiration is British summertime, and strawberries at this time of year are everybody’s favourite. The combination of ingredients is also classic.

How will you feel if your name is called out as a finalist?

I would be so incredibly happy, perhaps even relieved, as I have put myself and others under great pressure to get there. It would be an unbelievable achievement.

Tell us something that followers of the competition may not already know about you.

If somebody had asked me years ago what I would be doing now, I would never have imagined this as I never thought I would become a chef. In a strange turn of events I found myself in a kitchen washing dishes and before I knew it, I was learning to cook. Here I found my passion. Growing up, I always hoped I would be a professional surfer.

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