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

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th September 2018

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.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th September 2018

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