Meet the chefs in Heat 4 of the National Chef of the Year semi-finals

We’re all set for tomorrow (Tuesday, 20th June) when our 10 finalists of National Chef of the Year will be revealed. The winner of each heat will receive a place at the final followed by the six chefs with the highest point scores.

Here are the full list of chefs competing in heat 4 which takes place at Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School: -

  • Liam Grime
  • Jahdre Hayward
  • Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih
  • Adam Handling
  • Thomas Westerland
  • Will Holland
  • Allister Barsby
  • John Grabecki
  • Robert Cox
  • Adam Thomason

Ahead of the heat we’ve been hearing from some of the semi-finalists about how they are feeling ahead of the competition.  

Tom Westerland

You can follow Tom on Twitter using the handle @tomwesterland

“I decided to enter NCOTY to test myself against top chefs in the industry. I really enjoyed coming up with dishes for the brief this year. I thought it tested your ability to come up with simple but brilliant dishes using seasonal ingredients.

When I found out I was in the semi-finals I felt really excited for myself and my fellow colleague Dean Westcar. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the other semi-finalists and getting feedback on my dishes. If I was to win it would mean everything to me. It would show that all of the hard work I have put into my career over the past few years has paid off.”

Adam Thomason

Follow Adam on Twitter using @AdamThomason86.

This competition is one of the biggest culinary challenges out there and, to put it simply, I love a challenge! I thought this year’s brief was demanding! There is a lot to do within the time-frame but it still allows you space to put your own spin on the dishes.

When I found out I was in the semi-finals I felt proud and excited! This competition means a lot to me so I very proud to make it to the semis again but nervous as I want to make it all the way! I am looking forward to cooking for the judges. They are an incredible group of chefs that if not for the NCOTY competition, I would not get the chance to cook for. I have pondered on the question of winning for a long time and I'm still stumped on how best to put it into words - career changing, proudest moment of my life, dream. None of this really does it justice, let’s just say A LOT”

Name: Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih

Keep up-to-date with Sarah-Jasmina’s news by following @NordicCatering.

I’m always looking to improve myself, learn new things and meet new people. I also love competitive cooking and was delighted to reach last year’s semi-finals. After my wonderful experience last year, I didn't hesitate to sign up again! I found the scope of the brief challenging. I felt there was plenty of room to implement my ideas and display my skills whilst also adhering to what was required. I personally love working with duck as it is one of my favourite ingredients.

I felt I learned so much from my previous experience in the competition and was honoured to be surrounded by such talent. To learn that I’d made the grade once again was the highest compliment I could receive. I’m looking forward to preparing my dish under the scrutiny of the judges. I feel I work best when under pressure and I am looking forward to showing exactly what I can do. There is no higher accolade than the recognition of your industry and peers. Winning the competition would mean personal confirmation of the hard work I have put into my profession. Most importantly, it could mean more opportunity to learn and improve myself as a chef.”

Haywards Restaurant

Follow Jadhre Hayward’s updates using @HaywardsRestaur onTwitter.

“As I enjoyed competing so much last year I decided to enter again. I thought the brief was very interesting especially the starter as I love producing interesting vegetarian dishes. When I found out I was in the semi-final I felt very excited about being given the opportunity to compete against some fantastic chefs. Winning would provide the recognition for myself as a chef and our restaurant. It would be very rewarding to myself and our team at Haywards.”

John Grabecki

Follow John on Twitter using @john_grabecki.

“I entered NCOTY as I wanted to challenge myself. I believe in my dishes and wanted to showcase them to some of Britain’s greatest chefs and what better way than through this competition. The brief is great this year, all round trying to get us using different ingredients and methods.

It felt amazing finding out I was into the semi-finals. Although there are some award-winning chefs in there, for me it’s about the experience I can gain from doing this. I haven’t really thought about winning to be honest. It would be like a very good dream!”

Allister Barsby

You can follow Allister on Twitter with @allisterbarsby.

“The NCOTY competition is one of the most prestigious of the year, and I felt this year would be perfect timing for me. It's a huge opportunity to develop myself as a chef but also personally, developing my character and experience within the industry. I've also seen what an amazing platform it has been for previous winners and the boost it has given their careers. The brief for this year’s competition feels natural for me and the style of food I am developing in my own kitchen. It leaves plenty of room for flare and innovation.  I'm really excited to be cooking the dishes designed round this brief. This is my first competition so reaching the semi-finals is very exciting for me. Getting the chance to cook for this panel of judges will be intense, but a once in a lifetime opportunity and invaluable experience. I'm really looking forward to just enjoying the experience, letting my food do the talking and impressing the judges with my cooking. Winning would just be a speechless moment for me.  It would be an incredible achievement and one I would cherish going forward.”

Will Holland

Keep up-to-date with Will’s news by following him on Twitter using @ChefWillH.

“David Mulcahy (Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs) persuaded me to enter because I have always used the excuse 'I don't have enough time' in the past. I loved the brief as summer ingredients are some of my favourite to use all year, I love preparing and cooking duck and I think these days a lot of people who aren't vegetarian actually choose vegetarian dishes from menus.

When I heard I was in the semi-finals I was happy but straight away thought 'the hard work starts now'. I am looking forward to getting in the kitchen, putting my head down and executing my dishes to the best of my ability. As well as having some fun along the way of course. I haven't even thought as far ahead as winning and am just taking one step at a time.

You can follow all the action from the London semi-finals using #NCOTY and watching @Craft_Guild. We will be live streaming the announcement which will take place at the drinks ceremony between 5pm and 7pm.  

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