National Chef of the Year 2014 reveals finalists

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd July 2014

The Craft Guild of Chefs has announced the finalists for the National Chef of the Year 2014


The eight chefs were selected from the 40 chefs shortlisted to take part in the semi-final heats at Sheffield College on Tuesday June 10th and Le Cordon Bleu in London on Wednesday June 25th. Each of the chefs prepared a three course meal for four guests within two hours.

The menu had to reflect Asian; Oriental; Modern British; Modern European and Rest of the World cuisines and consist of a The National Chef of the Year logovegetable focused starter, main course using locally sourced fresh white fish, with appropriate accompaniments and a dessert using summer fruits, served hot or cold.

The eight finalists are:

  • Adam Handling, head chef, St Ermins Hotel, London
  • Andrew Gotting, executive group head chef, Galloping Gourmet, Worcestershire
  • Daniel Morgan, sous chef, The Square, London
  • Diane Camp (Kay), development chef, Reynolds, Hertfordshire
  • Lahiru Jayasekara, head chef, The Manor at Weston on the Green, Oxfordshire
  • Nick Edgar, head chef, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
  • Russell Bateman, head chef, Colette’s, Hertfordshire
  • Simon Webb, head chef, Restaurant Associates, London

The judging panel for the semi-finals included chefs Benoit Blin, Ben Tish, Clare Smyth, Cyrus Todiwala, Gary Jones MCA, Phil Howard and Vivek Singh and was the first time that the London heats had taken place in the training kitchens of one of Europe’s premier cooking schools, Le Cordon Bleu.

Phil Howard, chair of the judges said: “A huge amount of energy and enthusiasm goes into chef competitions. The competitors here today aren’t here because they have to be but because they have an absolute, all consuming passion to compete and commitment to their profession.

>>> Read more about Phil Howard here 

Phil Howard, Adam Handling and Clare Smyth
Phil Howard, Adam Handling and Clare Smyth

“As a judge I’m always interested to see where British cooking is at and what shines through from today is proper cooking, seasonality and provenance. I’ve enjoyed some outstanding food and phenomenal finesse today and I’m looking forward to some excellent food at the final.”

The chefs cooked a wide range of dishes making good use of seasonal British produce. The shortlisted starter dishes included A Chilled English Garden Essence from Russell Bateman, Wye Valley Asparagus, Orange and Chantenay Carrot Salad, Aylesbury Duck Pastrami from Diane Kay with mains such as Halibut, Wild Garlic, Cauliflower, Gem from Adam Handling and a dessert of Strawberry and Elderflower Panna Cotta, Gooseberry and Gewürztraminer from Nick Edgar.

Each finalist will take part in a Mentor Day on Friday, September 19th at Unilever Food Solutions in Leatherhead where they will be given details of the mystery basket of ingredients that they must use in the final. They will go on to compete in front of a live audience at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, October 7th. For more information visit http://craftguildofchefs.org

>>> All you need to know about National Chef of the Year here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd July 2014

National Chef of the Year 2014 reveals finalists