EIPIC's James Devine is the National Chef of the Year 2017 winner

The  Staff Canteen

James Devine, sous chef at EIPIC in Belfast is the National Chef of the Year 2017 winner.

Taking on stiff competion from the nine other finalists, James's dishes of tortellini, roast chicken, butternut squash and usage veloutte, Tees Valley rib of beef, braised puy lentils and watercress, and a dessert of soft centerd chocolate and coffee tart with passion fruit curd.

Adam Thomason, James Devine and

Charles Smith

Taking a close second was Adam Thomason of Deloitte, Restaurant Associates and in third place was Charles Smith of Alyn Williams at The Westbury

James said: “I’m honoured, I never expected to win or to come this far. Today went well for me, I kept calm and was pleased with the way all my dishes came out. Each dish was something I’d happily eat or serve up. Right now, I feel humbled and very excited at the same time.”

As the winner, James Devine is now part of the National Chef of the Year 'Hall of Fame', which represents culinary excellence and offers the chance to meet and work with some of the most exciting industry names.

He also wins a range of special prizes including a once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of the world’s top restaurants, stagiaire opportunities, equipment from sponsors and chocolate workshops. Best of all, having won the life-changing title, James now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of some the country’s most successful chefs, such as Alyn Williams, Gordon Ramsay and Mark Sargeant who have all previously held the title.

This year’s competition was one of the toughest yet, with an incredible list of high profile judges to impress, including Daniel Doherty - Group Executive Chef for Duck & Waffle Restaurants, Gary Jones - Executive Head Chef at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claude Bosi - Chef Patron at Hibiscus and many more.

David Mulcahy, the competition organiser and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “What an amazing final we’ve just witnessed. Looking at the chefs lined-up before it kicked off, I knew it was going to be close but these ten chefs gave the judges a difficult task. This year’s basket of ingredients was a real challenge and meant that we saw some amazing dishes. Today’s winner presented an excellent starter, main course and dessert.”

He added: “Congratulations to James. He thoroughly deserved to take this title and this will be a career-defining and life-changing moment for him. The NCOTY competition began back in January so over the last nine months all ten finalists have had one clear goal in mind…winning the most prestigious title in the UK culinary calendar.”

>>> Read more about James here 

Clare Smyth MBE, Chairman of Judges also added: “After the level of cooking I’ve witnessed this afternoon, I couldn’t be more honoured to be Chair of judges for NCOTY. All finalists rose to the challenge and delivered delicious plates of food. It’s not easy cooking for these judges, many of whom are our finalists’ idols, but it’s so important to remain calm and hold your nerve. Although it was a tough decision, we had a clear winner in the end and some really stand out dishes that could be served up in any restaurant.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th October 2016

EIPIC's James Devine is the National Chef of the Year 2017 winner