Craft Guild of Chefs announce entries are open for the 2016 Graduate Awards

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd February 2016

The Staff Canteen is proud to support this year’s Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards and is on the hunt to find chefs under the age of 23 who are keen to showcase their skills and pass the ultimate test.  Do you have a chef in your kitchen who you believe could make the grade? 

Only 48 chefs have ever passed the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards and we’re excited to see which young and talented chefs will be next to join the Graduates hall of fame.

One of those graduates is Richard Picard-Edwards, head chef at Lords of the Manor, he said: “For this particular age group, it’s the only event where you have to have such a high level of skill. There are so many different elements to it and I see it as a way to build up skills and experience for competitions like the Roux Scholarship or National Chef of the Year. It’s a good way to test yourself against others in your age group.”

For 2016, former National Chef of the Year and head chef at Collettes Restaurant, Russell Bateman has taken over the reins as Chair of Examiners and is on the lookout for some of the UK's youngest talent. Talking about his new role, Russell said: "Being asked to be the Chair of Examiners was a proud moment for me. We hear so much about lack of skills or a shortage of chefs coming through colleges but I believe the Graduate Awards provide an opportunity to really improve skills. The awards also show young people there are real opportunities for those who choose being a chef as a career choice. My plea to head chefs around the UK is to encourage young chefs to enter as whatever level they achieve, a huge amount is gained from the experience."

Another addition to the 2016 event is the launch of the Pastry Graduate Award. Entrants will need to send in a paper entry and those selected for the next round will complete a short multiple choice theory test and be assessed when completing a series of skills tasks. In the final exam, young chefs will also be asked to create a dessert using a mystery basket of ingredients, as well as serving up their own interpretation of a classic dessert.

Steve Munkley, founder and organiser of the Graduate Awards said “I’ve been thinking about creating a Pastry Award for some time as it’s an area which is often talked about in terms of a shortage of skills and new chefs. The Guild is constantly looking for ways to entice young people to be part of our industry and showcase the talent that’s out there so it’s important that we give them opportunities to shine like this. I’m looking forward to the final exam already and unveiling the first ever Pastry Graduate.” 

9_Charlie Aggett (6) low resWhat is the Graduate Award?

It is an examination created to test and improve the skills which chefs have learnt at college and in their early careers, and take them to the next level. Chefs have to go through a tough entry process including a paper entry, heats and then final examination. This includes a theory paper, butchery and fishmongery tasks as well as creating a ‘mystery basket’ dish, classic main course and a dessert that will really impress the panel of culinary experts.

Receiving the Graduate Award has proved career changing with previous Graduates going on to gain Michelin stars, work in some of the World’s top restaurants, be part of the World Skills team and even win the Young National Chef of the Year title. 2016 marks the 14th year of the Graduate Awards examinations and with so much talk about lack of skills and chef shortages, it provides the perfect opportunity to improve young chefs skills and showcase the culinary talent the UK has to offer. It’s set to be an exciting year with Russell Bateman taking over as Chair of Examiners and the launch of a new Pastry Graduate Award.

Meet the Graduates

Find out more about what it’s like to be part of these awards 2_Reece Cosier (6) low resby reading what talented chefs Richard Picard-Edwards, Connor Godfrey, Victoria Scupham and Ruth Hansom had to say. We will be adding a new chef each day this week starting with Richard. You can also watch the video above which is from last year’s event, it gives you a little insight into what goes on in the kitchen on final examination day.

>>>Download the entry form now

The closing date for entries is May 6 2016. Join in the conversation about the Graduate Awards by tweeting @Craft_Guild and using the hashtag #CGCGradAwards.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd February 2016

Craft Guild of Chefs announce entries are open for the 2016 Graduate Awards