Meet your Heat 2 London semi-finalists

On Tuesday, 20th June, 2017 we will be heading to Le Cordon Bleu London for the National Chef of the Year and Young National Chef of the Year semi-finals.
Ahead of the day we’ve heard from some of those semi-finalists about how they are feeling and what it would mean to them to hear their name called as the winner.

Luke Selby

You can keep-up-to date with the news from Luke by following @lucas_selby.

“It's a huge competition and something that I've always wanted to take part in. I feel like the time is right for me now to enter. It is exciting that Gary Jones has just taken over as chair of judges. It’s a great brief this year which encourages me to showcase skills and English produce.

I was so happy to hear that I was chosen to be in the semi-finals but very aware that from now on it's going to be a lot of hard work! It would be a huge achievement to win the competition and to have my name alongside the past winners would be such an honour.”

Marcin Szelag

You can follow Marcin on Twitter using the handle @MsSzelag.

“Any competition for a chef is a great learning tool and occasion to meet great people. National Chef of the Year is the most prestigious and for me a great opportunity to present my skills and hopefully create winning recipe combinations. This year’s brief, as every year, is very challenging and open for using fantastic seasonal ingredients. A vegetarian starter can be tricky as many chefs add meat or fish to their dishes and I think judges will be looking for great balancing of flavours. Main course for me is very exciting as there is an amazing opportunity to show that you can use every part of the duck and put it on the plate without wasting a bit of it. Dessert needs to be simple but perfectly delivered to let the dish speak for itself.

This is my second time to attend the competition and just like the first time I am very excited about being given the opportunity to go further in the competition! To be chosen out of hundreds of menus and get to the semi-finals is already a great achievement. I can’t wait for the chance to cook my menu for the most talented and greatest chefs in the country! All chefs are determined to get to the finals and win the competition so it’s not going to be easy. I don't think I could put into words how I would feel if I were to win!”

Luciano Lucioli

Follow Luciano on Twitter with @LucianoLucioli.
“I entered NCOTY because it is the most prestigious competition in UK and a great platform for career development and I thought the brief this year was a great choice.

This is my third time in the semi-finals, but it was still as exciting to hear I was going through as the first time. It is great to be shortlisted together with other talented chefs. I am looking forward to presenting dishes I created for the judges and hopefully get great feedback.

Winning would be the greatest achievement of my career to this date. It would also be a great feeling to be on the winners list of the exceptional chefs like Gordon Ramsey, David Everitt-Matthias, Alyn Williams and many others.”

Kuba Winkowski

You can follow Kuba on Twitter using @Chef_Kuba

“I decided to enter the NCOTY competition, because I wanted to challenge myself and to try my skills against other professional chefs. I think the brief this year gives a lot of flexibility and room to express yourself, but as well to test the chef’s skills and creativity. Obviously, I was very happy to be in semi-finals, but as well strangely nervous and excited for the whole day.

I am looking forward to meeting all the judges as a lot of them are chefs I have been looking up to in different stages of my development as a chef. Winning would mean a lot. I am a very competitive person so winning always feels good, but it would be an honour to be recognised by top chefs in the UK.”

Scott Perkins

Keep up-to-date with Scott’s news by following @scottperkins17 on Twitter.

“It is my career goal to win the competition, this is the first year I have entered and to get through to the semi-final is great! I thought the brief was a fantastic opportunity to bring back classic dishes with some modern interpretation, keeping flavours simple and showcasing great product from suppliers. I was very happy to be in the semi-finals, it’s exciting to get through and be part of a prestigious competition. This together with working at the London Gellar College of Hospitality and Tourism, provides a way to inspire students to enter their own competition and lead by example.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to showcase my style and personality to the industry’s leading chefs. Winning would be an achievement I would be very proud of, I would love to use the title to inspire more young people to have a career in the hospitality and showcase what you can achieve.”

Andonis Paraskevas

You can follow Andonis on Twitter with the handle @Adonakis83.

“I decided to enter the competition because I wanted to compete at a higher level and test myself against top chefs. The brief is very good and diverse as it puts chefs under pressure and makes you think outside the box. When I read that I was in the semi-final I could not believe it. I was over the moon and excited beyond belief. Wining would be the biggest career achievement so far and would make my family proud. I would share the knowledge and exposure with my team of chefs.”

Simon Webb

Watch the updates from Simon Webb using @chefsimonwebb36 on Twitter.

“I entered the competition again as it is one of the best competitions in the UK. Having competed against some of the world’s best I have the desire to compete and win and to be known as one of best competitions chefs in the UK.

I loved the brief again this year so I just couldn't help myself. It allows chefs to showcase seasonal produce using classic and modern skills. I was super chuffed to be named amongst the semi-finalist alongside some big guns.

On the day, I am looking forward to cooking my dishes to my best capability. Hearing my name being called out for the final would be unbelievable. I have had the desire to win NCOTY for some years now. Seeing others win every year makes me want it more and more. It would be a privilege to win and represent the Craft Guild of Chefs and be named alongside the previous winners list.”

David Davey-Smith

Follow David Davey-Smith on Twitter with @davey_ds.

“I entered National Chef of the Year to better myself, my abilities and to do better than two years ago. I love the buzz of a busy competition and the chance to get my food critiqued by such an esteemed panel. It’s an opportunity I wanted to grasp. The brief for 2017 was excellent, both challenging and creative. For the semi-finals, I am feeling both excited for the challenge but nervous as I really want to do well. I am looking forward to producing my dishes under pressure, I enjoy the buzz of a good service, and maybe a few cold beers after! I'm not thinking as far as winning, at the moment I'm just taking one step at a time. My goal is to be better than my previous entry, anything else is a bonus.”

Nick Smith

Keep up to date on Twitter by following @Niknakchef.

“I wanted to enter NCOTY to test my abilities and knowledge as a chef. It is a hugely recognised platform where I'm able to try and achieve this and be judged by the very best within the industry. To have the opportunity to be a semi-finalist & to cook my paper entry is a huge milestone for me.

The brief for me this year is exciting, testing and with a real focus on seasonality & provenance. It made me think about how to be creative and modern but still keep sight of my classical skills that my dish foundations encompass. The high regard that NCOTY is held in is an amazing competition for a chef to be involved with, even with the paper entry there is a real awareness on how good it must be to get through. To see your name on the list of chosen chefs is for me an overwhelming experience, I was totally thrilled beyond words to be one of them. The next stage is a challenge but one I aim to rise too as well as enjoy every minute and soak up the whole experience. Being able to present my paper entry into real form and cooking the dishes that I love really excites me.

To reach the final of the competition would mean the absolute world to me, this in itself is a career high. So, if I was to become the next winner of NCOTY, I would struggle to find the words to express the achievement of winning such an accolade.”

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