National Chef of the Year 2018 semi-finalists announced

The  Staff Canteen

After an exciting and busy judging process, the Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed the 41 semi-finalists competing to win the title of National Chef of the Year 2018.

These talented chefs will compete in the heats at Sheffield College on Tuesday, June 6 or at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

Speaking after the judging day, Gary Jones, executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons said: “The paper judging process is rigorous, detailed and thorough. It's a tough assignment to take on and it's taken several of the industry's finest to assess the skills and professionalism of all our entrants. The standard of recipes and methods are so important for success. To stand out, chefs must show their knowledge, understanding of flavour combinations, seasonality, provenance, balance, texture and nail the brief to the tee. We are looking for 'brilliant simplicity'. The personal growth in every NCOTY entrant is amazing to witness and it will help propel their careers and raise the bar in our industry. Now the paper side of the competition is complete, let's see what awaits our judges in the semi-finals.” 

To get to the semi-finals, chefs have already had to impress 13 judges, including the new Chair of Judges, Gary Jones from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons who will oversee the whole competition. He analysed all menu courses alongside David Mulcahy and Andrew Bennett who were on hand to help whittle the list down. Starters were judged by Alyn Williams, Peter Joyner and Willie Pike, with main courses being scrutinised by Clare Smyth MBE, Philip Howard, Russell Bateman and Steve Scuffell. Marking the mouth-watering desserts this year was Graham Hornigold, Sarah Hartnett and Julie Sharp.

Allister Barsby, executive chef, Grove of Narberth

Ian Boden, development chef, Flourish Food Solutions

Jack Bradley, head chef, Temple Sowerby House Hotel

Ben Champkin, sous chef, L'Enclume Restaurant

Jamie Coleman, head chef, Saunton Sands Hotel

James Cousins , Jnr sous chef, Restaurant Associates

Robert Cox, head chef, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel

David Davey-Smith, chef, Royal Air Force Worthy Down

Richard Davies, head chef, Epicure/Celtic Manor

Nathan Eades, head chef, Simpsons Restaurant

Glenn Evans, head of food development, Las Iguanas

John Grabecki, head chef, BNY Mellon

Dan Graham, head chef, Talbot Hotel Malton

Liam Grime, Cpl chef, Captain of the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team RAF Odiham

Adam Handling, chef, Adam Handling Limited / The Frog Restaurant

Ollie Hay, head chef, Nomura

Jahdre Hayward, head chef, Haywards Restaurant

Will Holland, head chef, Coast Restaurant

Tom Lawson, chef patron, Rafters Restaurant

Luciano Lucioli , head chef, Lusso - CH&Co

Cormac Mc Creary, sous chef, The Ritz London

Liam McKenna, sous chef, Trump International

Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, 10 feet tall

Karl O`Dell, senior sous chef, Petrus - Gordon Ramsay

Jack O'Donovan, sous chef, Baxter Storey

Andonis Paraskevas, executive head chef, Lusso catering

Scott Perkins, restaurant operations chef trainer, University of West London/ Pillars Restaurant

Matthew Ramsdale, sous chef, The Chester Grosvenor

Luke Selby, head chef, Dabbous

Mathew Shropshall, chef lecturer, UCB - College of Food

Nick Smith, head chef, Harbour & Jones / Ashurst

David Stevens, conference and meeting sous chef, The Balmoral Hotel

Marcin Szelag, head chef, Rocksalt Folkestone

Robert Taylor, chef patron, Compasses Inn

Adam Thomason, head chef, Restaurant Associates- Deloitte

Simon Webb, head chef, Restaurant Associates

Dean Westcar, head chef, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park

Thomas Westerland, sous chef, Lucknam Park

Aled Williams, head of development and innovation, TRUEfoods

Kuba Winkowski, head chef, The Feathered Nest Inn

Andy Wright, head chef, Mercedes F1 Headquarters

In the next round chefs must cook-up their menu in two hours and it has to include a vegetarian based starter, a duck and cherry combination main course and a classic tart as a dessert.

The top scoring chef in each heat automatically gets a place in the live final at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, 3rd October at Olympia, London. It will then be down to the six chefs who received the highest runner-up scores to complete the line-up. 

Organiser of the competition and Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy added: “From the moment we announced the brief for this year, I’ve seen and received so many comments about what a fantastic opportunity it provided for chefs to show us their skills. Chefs have absolutely risen to the challenge and created what can only be described as stunning menus. Every year the competition develops and grows with high profile judges, amazing sponsors, increased marketing activity and new chef names being pushed into the limelight. My advice for all the semi-finalists is to grab this opportunity with both hands because the ten chefs that make the final will purely be based on what comes out of the kitchen next month.”

The National Chef of the Year competition is run in partnership with KNORR, Lockhart Catering Equipment, Nespresso and SousVide Tools. It is supported by British Premium Meats, Cacao Barry, CCS, Churchill, Direct Seafood, Evolve, Mash, OpenTable, UNOX and Ritter Courivaud.

You can follow all the action from NCOTY by following @Craft_Guild and #NCOTY on Twitter or visit the website

>>> Read the latest blog from National Chef of the Year 2017 winner, James Devine

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th May 2017

National Chef of the Year 2018 semi-finalists announced