Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Nick Smith

The  Staff Canteen

National Chef of the Year 2019 finalist, Nick Smith is head chef at CH&CO Workplaces.

Nick works as a head chef at CH&CO Workplaces, he refined his skills in notable London kitchens such as Le Pont de la Tour, The Arts Club, Dover Street & Chinon before moving into hospitality at Credit Suisse Bank in Canary Wharf.

Throughout his career, he has received awards from Hotelympia where he has competed in different classes and has also reached the finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs awards too. He has also attained first place in the Association of Culinary Excellence competition.

How did it feel to get through to the final?

Hearing my name called out as a finalist was for me, a very emotional moment - all the practice invested in my dishes had paid off, not just for myself, but for the whole brigade.

Why did you enter National Chef of the Year?

My executive chef had previously entered the NCOTY competition and hearing his perspective on the competition and the buzz he got from it made my decision to enter a simple one. The challenge to me was a tad daunting but what better way to test your abilities at the highest level. Performing to your very best under intense scrutiny from the country's top chefs has to be the ultimate challenge and an impossible one to turn down.

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

My first time of entering NCOTY was a complete journey into the unknown, the realisation and the enormity of the whole competition scenario can be overwhelming, but the reason for entering for me was to test not only my cookery skills but my resolve and my character.

The competition has helped my skill set evolve and it has allowed me to gain more of an understanding of the level needed to achieve and to move forward. It has been invaluable not just for the competing, but also in terms of how I approach my everyday methods at work. It has been a challenging but rewarding process that has got me to the final

Have you entered any other competitions other than NCOTY?

I've always loved competing and I have been involved with different competitions over the years. I have competed at Hotelympia, The Hospitality show in the live theatre & Salon Culinaire with display pieces. I have a passion for sugarcraft and this has led me to compete at Cake international.

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

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 28th September 2018

Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Nick Smith