Forty chefs are now in the running to walk away with the prestigious title of The National Chef of the Year 2012 after being announced as semi-finalist in this year’s competition, which is run by the Craft Guild of Chefs to find new, shining lights of the culinary world.
Hailing from a diverse mix of foodservice sectors, from restaurants to contract catering, the line-up is now gearing up for the penultimate round of the top competition for chefs in the UK, hoping to follow in the footsteps of past winners such as Gordon Ramsay.
A total of four semi-finals will take place at two of the UK’s best culinary training centres, Sheffield College on June 19th and Westminster Kingsway College, London, on June 26th. Only eight hopefuls will make the cut to go into this year’s final at The Restaurant Show at Earls Court 2, London, on October 9th, tasked with impressing a panel of industry greats.
Each heat winner will be announced on the day and thereafter the remaining four finalists are chosen from the highest marks across all of the heats. These final four places will then be announced after the final heat at Westminster Kingsway College.
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “Even at this stage, it’s a long road to the final. The calibre of entries seems to get stronger and stronger every year, and this year’s semi-finals are going to be tough. On top of this, every stage of the competition features intense scrutiny by an experienced panel of chefs, this year led by Philip Howard as our 2012 Chairman of Judges.”
The National Chef of the Year is the most sought after title for chefs across the UK and a chance to prove they have the talent, flair, skill and passion to rise to the top of their game.
The competition has grown beyond belief in the past few years, especially since switching to an annual format. As well as Gordon Ramsay, acclaimed chefs Simon Hulstone, Mark Sargeant and David Everitt-Matthias are all past winners, while Frederick Forster was star of the show in 2011.
“To win The National Chef of the Year was beyond my wildest dreams and such an immense feeling,” said Frederick. “I was up against some tremendous talent, which made the victory even more special. I love cooking and it’s fantastic to have your skills recognised. I felt honoured.”
For the chance to win The National Chef of the Year, semi-finalists now need to prepare a well thought out menu, paying attention to authenticity, sourcing, seasonality, timing and wastage, while creating a menu that offers maximum flavour, texture, balance and style.
Winning the title is an outstanding achievement in itself and the tremendous prize package up for grabs, worth in excess of £15,000, is a true reflection of that.
Aside from being awarded the esteemed title of The National Chef of the Year, the winner will receive a host of top-class prizes including cash, an exclusive study trip with dinner at a 3-starred Michelin restaurant, master-classes as well as specialist chef’s products and equipment.
Catering equipment supplier Lockhart Catering Equipment, Unilever’s largest brand Knorr, and one of the global leaders in appliances for professional use, Electrolux, are the headline sponsors at this year’s event. Other sponsors include Barry Callebaut, Blue Arrow Catering, Continental Chef Supplies (CCS), Churchill, Culinary Innovation, Gourmet Classic, RARE, Sheffield City College and Westminster Kingsway College.
Who’s Who in the Semi-Finals
Here’s a look at who is cooking at the semi finals at Sheffield College on Tuesday 19 June and Westminster Kingsway College on Tuesday 26 June, for a chance to go on to compete in the live final of The National Chef of the Year 2012:
Ross Anderson, specialist instructional officer, Food Services Wing (Army)
Russell Bateman, head chef, Collette’s
Craig Beacham, sous chef, Elephant Restaurant, Torquay
Ian Boden, food development chef, M&B
Alex Bond, sous chef, Auberge du Lac
Sam Bryant, head chef, Strattons Hotel
David Bush, senior chef de partie, House of Commons
Micheal Dipple, sous chef, Cannizaro House
Neal Dove, executive head chef, The Assembly Room, Marlow
Paul Dunstane, chef, Restaurant Associates
Richard Edwards, head chef, The Park Restaurant, Lucknam Park Hotel
Glenn Evans, development chef, Reynolds Catering Supplies
Premila Fernando, junior sous chef, Barbecoa Restaurant
Justin Galea, executive chef, Turnberry Hotel
Maarten Geschwindt, head chef, Winter Garden, Landmark Hotel London
Chris Golding, head chef, The Ampersand Hotel
Hayden Groves, executive chef, BaxterStorey
Anthony Hinds, junior sous chef, Stanneylands Hotel
John Howie, head chef, Sodexo Prestige
Imthiaz Kader, executive chef, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Selin Kiazim, head chef, Kopapa
Ashwani Kumar, head chef , Mango Lounge Restaurant
Paul Matthews, sous chef, Restaurant Associates
Joe McCafferty, sous chef, Roka Restaurant
Martin Nisbet, head chef, Angelus Restaurant
Robert Oberhoffer, chef owner, The Dove Restaurant
Paul O’Malley, senior sous chef, Butchershop Bar & Grill
Andrew Scott , head chef, Mallory Court Hotel
Andrew Smith, head chef, The George and Dragon
Lionel Strub, head chef, Mirabelle Restaurant
Zoltan Szabo, senior sous chef, Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow
Wayne Thomson, chef/patron, No. 9 Church Street
Daniel Towell, head chef, Elior UK
Dez Turland, group development chef, Brend Hotels
Julian Tworek, senior sous chef, Hyatt Regency The Churchill Hotel
Ernst Van Zyl, head chef, Etrop Grange Hotel
Ben Williams, head chef, Read’s Restaurant with Rooms
Alyn Williams, head chef/patron, Alyn Williams at The Westbury
Andrew Wong, chef, Bumbles Restaurant
Andy Wright, junior sous chef, Restaurant 23
The National Chef of the Year 2012
The National Chef of the Year competition is open to all chefs who are 23 years or older on 1st April in the year of the competition. They can work in any sector of the catering industry, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, universities and in contract catering.
Celebrating the multicultural nature of the UK is a key aim of the competition and a revised format showcases this. The categories are divided up as follows:
· Asian / Oriental
· Modern British / European
· Rest of the World / Other
Throughout the process there are in excess of 40 expert chef judges including Angela Hartnett, Tom Kerridge, Atul Kochhar, Mark Sargeant and Philip Howard.
For more on the 2012 semi-finals, visit www.craftguildofchefs.org, contact Clair Bowman on 01293 610 329 or follow @NCOTY_2012 on Twitter.