Matt Abé reveals brief for National Chef of the Year as the competition opens for entry

Craft Guild of Chefs CGOC

The Craft Guild of Chefs

Premium Supplier 7th March 2024
Craft Guild of Chefs CGOC

The Craft Guild of Chefs

Premium Supplier

Matt Abé reveals brief for National Chef of the Year as the competition opens for entry

Following the announcement that Matt Abé is the new Chair of Judges for National Chef of the Year, his brief for this year’s competition has been unveiled. This year the criteria focuses on demonstrating excellent culinary skills across all disciplines, the creative use of local and global sustainable ingredients and the avoidance of any unnecessary food waste.

Chefs should celebrate and support excellent food producers through their competition entry, showcasing both simple and high-quality ingredients, elevating them to produce excellent dishes. Professional chefs from all ethnic and gender backgrounds are invited to submit an entry to one of the UKs longest running and most prestigious competitions.

Competitors are required to produce a three-course celebration menu for two covers within three hours. This extended cook-off time was one of Matt’s first big changes to the competition as he wanted to give all chefs longer to create three courses to enable them to produce their finest work.

The theme for the starter is ‘This is me‘. Chefs are asked to create a fish, seafood or vegetarian dish that reflects their own identity and unique personality. This is an opportunity for chefs to showcase their true self on a plate considering ethnicity, heritage, background influences and even the environment where they grew up.

A lamb dish is required for the main course using two cuts of lamb from a series of alternatives. It should be suitably garnished and capable of being cooked within the extended three-hour period. The dish must make use of ingredients, techniques and cooking styles that bring the very best from the lamb dish. Judges will want to see how the lamb element is elevated using relevant complementary and seasonal ingredients, flavours, textures and techniques.

The menu will be completed with a chocolate finale. Competitors are required to produce a warm or cold chocolate dessert that showcases the flavours of Valrhona Chocolate. The dishes flavour is all about the nuances and flavours of the grand crus. Competitors must showcase chocolate as the focal point of the dessert, and it must complement the rest of the menu.

Entries are now open and chefs can go online to register. Once they have registered, they will then be kept informed throughout the entry process with any FAQs and deadline reminders. Chefs will have until Friday 10th May 2024 to complete their entries.

Once the entry has closed 40 semi-finalists will be selected for the next stage by Matt Abé and his panel of judges and these will be revealed on Wednesday 26th June. Ten finalists will be selected to cook their original entry on Tuesday 8th October.

Matt Abé, Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay said: “Entering National Chef of the Year is a great experience for chefs to really push themselves and test their own ability, as well as against their peers in the industry. Obviously, we are looking for the next winner but winning is not everything with this competition as there is so much to experience at whatever stage you get to. Simply knowing some of the best chefs we have here in the UK will get to see your dishes and give you honest feedback is a great reason to enter. Those who do get to the final will meet so many incredible chefs. Who knows what doors this opportunity could open for you in the future.”

Competition director and food innovation & sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, David Mulcahy added: “This is always an incredibly exciting time as we begin the search for the next title holder who will follow in the footsteps of recent winners, Alex Angelogiannis and Ben Murphy. Imagine having the opportunity to cook for world-renowned chef, Matt Abé and his judging team and consider what this could do for your career. Winning NCOTY could literally be life-changing, not only with the prestige and glory it brings, but with an exciting array of prizes and PR opportunities on offer too.”

Register today and start your entry at

Essential Cuisine and Lumina are headline partners of National Chef of the Year, which is also supported by Churchill, Continental Chef Supplies (CCS), Evolve Group, Hallgarten & Novum Wines, Valrhona, Classic Fine Foods and Sous Vide Tools.

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.