GraduateAwards2012 logo FINAL.jpg2012 marks the tenth year of the graduate awards and where some people may celebrate with aluminium, tin or even diamond jewellery, these awards offer chefs under 23 the chance to prove they really are at the cutting edge and are making great strides up the career ladder.

The awards recognise a young working chef’s culinary excellence, testing their knowledge and skills in a series of culinary challenges in a high pressured environment. Of the 10 chefs who made it to last year’s final exam, only four received the 85 percent needed to make the Craft Guild hall of fame proving that becoming a graduate is no mean feat.

Vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and awards organiser Steve Munkley said they were now keen to hear from young chefs who wanted to push their boundaries to the limit.

“We want to hear from chefs who are 23 or under to put themselves forward for the chance to prove they have taken the skills they learnt in college to the next level,” said Steve, executive chef at London’s Royal Garden Hotel. “These awards offer young chefs the chance to be verified by the best chefs in the industry which is a great endorsement to be able to cite on a CV.”

After submitting entries by email, a select few will be asked to take a regional cooking test at University College Birmingham or Westminster Kingsway, London, on July 18th 2012. Chefs who make it through will then be invited to take a final cooking exam at University of West London (formerly TVU), on September 6th 2012, judged by a panel of top chefs including Chris Galvin as chairman of examiners.

This year’s successful graduates will be announced in front of hundreds of influential guests at a glittering awards luncheon at London’s Royal Garden Hotel on September 18th 2012.   

In addition to gaining new skills and an industry-recognised achievement for your CV, a host of unique opportunities are opened up as a graduate, including a study tour to Luxembourg with Villeroy & Boch and a Scottish fish farm arranged by James Knight of Mayfair. The Highest Graduate Achiever also receives a special prize – Warner Hotels (Bourne Leisure Group) are offering a 3 night / 4 night break (weekend / midweek) for the winner plus their partner.

There will also be an Employers’ trophy for excellence in training which last year went to Fergus Martin at Wyboston Lakes.

The deadline for this year’s entries is 30th April 2012 (chefs do not have to be members of the Craft Guild). Ingredients will be supplied (Chefs must bring own knives and small equipment) and assistance will be given to chefs with special needs.

In a bid to be ‘greener’, the Craft Guild is inviting chefs to download and submit their application forms online at, where potential graduates can also peruse a Q&A. For more information, call 020 8948 3870 or email