Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Kuba Winkowski

The  Staff Canteen

National Chef of the Year 2019 finalist, Kuba Winkowski is head chef at The Feathered Nest Inn.

Originally setting his sights on the financial world, Kuba realised his passion for gastronomy after working as a kitchen porter for two summers in Sydney. From here, Kuba spent three years at Broadstairs learning the culinary trade. During this time Kuba took part in various cooking competitions, both in the UK and France, and completed stages at Le Gavroche, Rhodes 24, Buckingham Palace and The British Embassy in Paris.

His first full-time job was as a commis chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison under the tutelage of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones. Kuba joined The Feathered Nest as a sous chef in 2010 before being promoted to head chef in 2012. Under Kuba’s guidance, the restaurant has been awarded 3 rosettes in the AA Restaurant Guide.

How did it feel to get through to the final?

When my name was announced as a finalist I felt relieved and very happy. I think because I have reached the final last year I had more pressure on my shoulders to do it again.

Why did you enter National Chef of the Year (NCOTY)?

Because it is an amazing challenge – to push yourself, learn more about our craft and to see where you stand in comparison to other chefs in the country. Another great side to the competition is to meet the top UK chefs and get them to taste and judge your food.

You entered NCOTY last year – how helpful was that experience and what did you learn from it?

Reaching the final of NCOTY last year was a massive learning curve and the experience was very helpful. This year I had a much better idea of what the judges are looking for, what the semi-final and final is like, how much space I have got to cook, what equipment I needed and so on. Last year, I had underestimated how much work, time, energy and effort the preparation that this competition needs.

The great thing about NCOTY is that doesn’t matter what the outcome is, you are becoming a better and more skilful chef.

Have you entered any other competitions apart from NCOTY?

Before NCOTY I took part in few competitions as a student. I have won the Escoffier Challenge in London in 2006 and 2007, the Caterer & Licensee Student Chef of the year 2007 and the Wessex Salon Culinaire in Bournemouth. I also was awarded the 2nd place in Young Chef of European Union 2006, Hotel Beaulieu, Nord-pas-Calais, France.

Knorr and Unilever Food Solutions are proud to be longstanding sponsors of the National Chef of the Year competition. The foodservice industry is a significant and important part of Knorr’s business and we’re proud to have been by the side of culinary professionals since 1838.

Remember your first day? Watch our campaign film at www.ufs.com/knorr1838

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th September 2018

Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Kuba Winkowski