National Chef of the Year finalist- Glenn Evans
The National Chef of the Year finalist, Glenn Evans left school at 16 and took a job in the summer of 1996 as a porter and waiter in his local hotel. One day the head chef approached him and asked what he considered to be the next step in his career. At this stage, Glenn was still unsure but was offered a trial in the kitchen with a view to being offered an apprenticeship if it worked out. Thankfully it was a success and Glenn completed a two-year apprenticeship at The St. Anne’s Manor Hotel in Wokingham. It was a Stakis hotel back then and so the quality of the food was high-end, and he learnt all the basics and more. Glenn obtained his Level 2 NVQ qualification in food preparation and cooking and was promoted straight away. These days Glenn can be seen in the kitchens of Las Iguanas where he is head of food development.
Throughout his career Glenn has been inspired by so many chefs, old and new, in so many different genres of the industry. In fact, there are just too many to name. He entered NCOTY because it was a competition that drove him as a chef to challenge himself, to learn new techniques and work with different ingredients.
Winning the title would mean so much, having competed in NCOTY five times. However, Glenn has learnt so much from the previous years that he feels he has improved not only as a chef, but as a person. For him, it’s one of the best competitions in the world and when you look at the roll of honour and the names he has competed against in the past and present, it truly is an honour for him to be in the final.
Having stood on the same stage at Le Cordon Bleu before and awaited the finalist announcement, Glenn had been accustomed to not hearing his name. However, this year he didn’t have long to wait as he was declared a heat winner. Feelings of shock and extreme happiness were how he felt in that moment.
Back at Las Iguanas/CDG the team were over the moon to hear Glenn was in the final and he received some lovely messages from his supportive colleagues. With such big news, the first person he would normally call would be his wife, Georgie but as she was his commis for the heat he called his boss, Mos Shamel, MD of Las Iguanas. Having been such a fantastic support to Glenn in the build-up to the competition, this was an important call to make.
When it came to celebrating, there was champagne consumed at Le Cordon Bleu but “win or lose” Glenn had already booked a table at Ollie Dabbous’ restaurant HIDE. He knew his wife deserved to be wined and dined after the hard work she had put in to supporting him on the day and in the months of preparation leading up to the semi-final. Ollie had actually been judging at the London heats, so the evening was made extra special with the news that Glenn was now a finalist.
The three words that describe Glenn’s style of cooking are adventurous, vibrant and wholesome.