Meet the Young National Chef of the Year 2017 finalists

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th September 2016

The Young National Chef of the Year 2017 live final takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday so we wanted to take a closer look at the ten taking part.

Heat winners Ruth Hansom, who works at The Ritz, and Arthur Bridgeman-Quin from The Punchbowl will be joined by runners-up Danny Young of Northcote Manor, Drew Snaith from Brunswick House, April Lily Partridge from The Clove Club and Daniela Tucci of The Art School Restaurant.

The final four chefs were selected based on winning other culinary competitions and include Reece Cosier, the Graduate Awards Highest Achiever, Johnathan Ferguson who won the British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year, the Academy of Culinary Arts top scoring chef which is Joel Gueller and the UK World Skills representative, Nicolle Finnie.

The finalists have planned a three course menu for two guests, which they will serve up to the high profile judges at The Restaurant Show. Let's meet the final 10:

April Lily Partridge

Name: April Lily Partridge

Age: 23

Place of work: The Clove Club

Position: chef

Bio:

April is a chef at The Clove Club in Shoreditch, London. Prior to this April was part of the Caprice Holdings Club for five years where she worked for the likes of The Ivy, 34 and the Club. She has been with The Clove Club since last year.

Why did you want to become a chef?

I decided I wanted to come a chef after spending my two weeks work experience at the age of 16 in a kitchen in pall mall, it was like a lightbulb moment. I fell in love with the kitchen environment and with food, I felt like I belonged. The more I learn the more I love it.

Why did you want to take part in YNCOTY?

I was picked for YNCOTY a few years ago after winning the young chef award at the craft guild of chef awards and really wanted to prove to everyone that I deserved that. Two or so years down the line I'm a completely different chef with a lot more knowledge, experience and a different outlook and this time I'm excited to come back and show how I've progressed. I want to prove that no matter how many times you get knocked down or you fail, you have to get back up fighting and keep going, I'm here to prove to myself that I deserve to be here this year. It's really personal this time for me.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope in five years I will be a senior member of a great restaurant, and I will be a well-established chef who is well respected by my peers. I just want to be a great chef one day and I'm pushing with everything I have to become that one step at a time working under great chefs and learning as much as possible to find my path.

Arthur Bridgeman-Quin

Name: Arthur Bridgeman-Quin

Age: 20

Place of work: The Punch Bowl

Position: Cook

Bio:

Arthur Bridgeman-Quin is a cook at The Punch Bowl. Arthur first discovered his passion for cooking and food whilst he was at school. It was during this time that he got himself some work experience before landing his first job shortly after graduating. Arthur has competed in many local competitions and this is his second attempt at winning the title of Young National Chef of the Year.

Why did you want to become a chef?

I took Home Economics at school and found I really enjoyed it and had a passion for it. I did some work experience too and then got my first job. I haven’t really thought about it since.

Why did you want to take part in YNCOTY?

I did it last year and I really enjoyed it. I did a local competition in Cumbria two years ago which I completely failed! I did it again the following year and won it. I did the local competitions to push myself so it felt like the right time to give YNCOTY a go again.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Oh wow, I really don’t know. That’s a tough one to answer.

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Daniela Tucci

Name: Daniela Tucci

Place of work: The Art School Restaurant

Position: Chef De Partie, Pastry Chef

Bio:

Daniela is the chef de partie and pastry chef at Paul Askew’s The Art School Restaurant. Daniela joined Paul and the team at The Art School Restaurant as an apprentice while studying at The City of Liverpool College. Earlier this year Daniela was the first female to be awarded North West Young Chef.

Why did you want to become a chef?

I've always been drawn to the kitchen to be honest, I knew I wanted to be in a career involving food and so I did it for my GCSE and then went to college to be an apprentice and just worked hard and tried to get myself in the best place in Liverpool.

Why did you want to take part in YNCOTY?

I wanted to take part in YNCOTY to challenge myself and stretch myself as a chef to learn all of the kitchen and not just pastry, by doing the competition in trying to do my best not just in pastry but in meat and fish as well now.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I'm not too sure where I see myself in years to come. Hopefully still improving and always learning, I hope to travel a bit a go to work in restaurants round the world, learn different cultures, ingredients and kitchens.

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Danny Young  

Name: Danny Young      

Age: 22

Place of work: Northcote Manor

Position: Junior Sous Chef

Bio:

Danny is junior sous chef at Northcote Manor. His first taste for fine dining came after he left school when he got a job working in a Michelin starred kitchen. Danny won North West Young Chef of the Year in 2014 and was the runner up in last year’s Young National Chef of the Year competition.

Why did you want to become a chef?

I’ve just always enjoyed cooking and eating food, it’s everyday life and cooking is always going to be around so there’s always going to be jobs as everyone needs feeding. It’s always been one of those jobs that I’ve been interested in doing since I was young!

Why did you want to take part in YNCOTY?

I won the North West Young Chef of the Year in 2014, which put me through to the nationals and then I came second last year, which I think is going to help me a lot this year. I know the venue and on the day you know you’re going to be cooking for a lot of people, but you just blank it straight out and then you’re in the zone, just cooking yourself. This time I know fully what to expect! Then I knew that this year they were going to put the finalists back into the semifinals so I knew that I needed to do it again, I need to win it!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m still a junior sous chef, so I want to progress at that level and become a more senior member of staff. I also want to work towards being part of the National Chef of the Year competition. The main aim I would say is that I just want to be progressing and that in five years I could hopefully be a head chef or a senior sous chef and that’s where I want to be.

What would winning it mean to you?

It would be a big achievement for me! Coming second last year was a disappointment. Losing out by a couple of points has made me realise that this year I need to go back and I need to win it! It would also be something which I never would have imagined could happen say five years ago when I started my apprenticeship, that is an achievement in itself!

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Ruth Hansom

Name: Ruth Hansom

Place of work: The Ritz

Position: Chef

Bio:

Ruth Hansom is a chef at The Ritz Hotel in London. Ruth is no stranger to competitions having competed in the Young National Chef of the Year contest twice before. Ruth has been at the Ritz for three years where she started out as an apprentice before working her way to become a chef.

 

Drew Snaith

Name: Drew Snaith

Age: 23

Place of work: Brunswick House Cafe

Position: Sous Chef

Bio:

Drew Snaith is the sous chef at Brunswick House Café in London. Drew knew from a young age he wanted to become a chef. His career started with a stint working with chef John Parsons. He later went to work at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons before moving onto Brunswick House Café two years ago as chef de partie. He has since worked his way up to become sous chef, a title he still holds today.

Why did you want to become a chef?

I have always wanted to be a chef, from a very young age. I have very fond memories of baking with my grandma as a child, which has grown into my passion for food.

Why did you want to take part in YNCOTY?

Taking part in the competition has been quite a natural progression really, a friend of mine won the competition a couple years ago and I thought I should try as well.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in five years, that’s what i love about this industry, things change daily.

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Name: Joel Gueller

Joel Gueller

Age: 21

Place of work: Le Manoir

Position: Chef de Partie

Bio:

Joel Gueller was first introduced to Michelin star quality food at the age of 12 after being inspired by his uncle, Simon who runs the one Michelin starred restaurant, The Box Tree in IIkley. Joel has been at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons for over three years and was recently promoted to Chef de Partie. Last year Joel was named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef of the Year.

Why did you want to become a chef?

I have been interested in food from a very young age and was inspired by my uncle Simon Gueller. When I first ate at his restaurant I was about 12 years old and eating Michelin starred food was mind blowing. At that age I had new interests every month or so but something was different about this one. I was shown around his kitchen and before I knew it I was working a few hours here and there during school holidays. I was hooked. I think what interested me the most at first was the limitless creativity and knowing I could learn so much.

Why did you want to take part in YNCOTY?

YNCOTY is the biggest competition in the country for young chefs and I wanted to set myself the challenge of doing it this year to test myself and get to know other young chefs in the country with similar ambitions.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I hope to be planning for the opening of my own restaurant, however a lot can happen in five years. I'm open-minded and open to change. I will, however definitely be somewhere close to food.

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Johnathan Ferguson

Name: Johnathan Ferguson

Age: 20

Place of work: Restaurant Andrew Fairlie Gleneagles

Position: commis chef

Bio:

Johnathan Ferguson is the commis chef at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie Gleneagles in Scotland. Prior to working at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie Gleneagles Jonathan was the demi chef de partie at Cail Bruich in Glasgow and began his career working as an apprentice at Trinity Restaurant in London.

Why did you want to become a chef?

I’m not really sure, just a general love of food I suppose. It was the only job I really wanted to do to when I was younger.

Why did you want to take part in YNCOTY?

So I can enjoy the whole planning and preparation that goes into competitions like that. I kind of like setting myself up and writing all of the menus and just the whole approach to the competition. I really enjoy the build up to them.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m quite happy where I am at the minute but I would like to se myself maybe travelling to America and working in San Francisco as it seems to be the place to be right now.

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Name: Nicolle Finnie

Nicolle Finnie

Age: 18

Place of work: The Larder Restaurant

Bio:

Nicolle Finnie currently works at the Larder Restaurant and represented the UK at the UK World Skills where she won gold. Prior to working at the Larder Restaurant in Bearsden 18 year-old Nicolle worked at One Devonshire Gardens and The Balmoral.

 

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Reece Cossier

Name: Reece Cossier

Place of work: Westmead Hotel

Position: Chef de Partie

Bio: Reece Cosier is the chef de partie at Westmead Hotel. Beginning his career working at King Heath Sports and Cricket Club, Reece decided to attend UCB college in Birmingham. It was during this time he took a year out to work at White Barn Hotel in Kennebunkport before returning to continue his studies and later joining Westmead Hotel as chef de partie. Most recently Reece was working at the Landmark Hotel in London.

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th September 2016

Meet the Young National Chef of the Year 2017 finalists