Six chefs will put their creative skills to the test after qualifying as finalists in the inaugural Mövenpick Gourmet Dessert Chef of the Year competition.

Launched in partnership between Mövenpick Ice Cream and the Craft Guild of Chefs, the competition is an opportunity for chefs to realise the potential of desserts, both creatively and profitably.

The finalists are: Gary Ashley, Yately Manor Prep School; Lucia Balazikova, The Swettenham Arms in Cheshire; Emmanuel Bonneau, London Hilton on Park Lane; Sarah Frankland, William Curley; Javier Millet, Lexington Catering; and Robert Stordy, University of Derby. They will demonstrate their skills in a live cook off at London’s Westminster Kingsway College on July 5 2012.

“The level and quality of entries received is particularly impressive for such a new competition,” said competition judge Allan Pickett, head chef of Plateau in Canary Wharf, London. “However, this is much more than a competition; it’s also an opportunity to put desserts in the spotlight and ultimately put them back on the menu.

“Figures show that 80% of restaurant orders do not include a dessert. With such a significant missed opportunity for the hospitality sector, the level and quality of entries we’ve received is a promising sign that the industry has the passion and creative flair to encourage more diners to end their meal with a dessert.”

Julia Jones, head of customer marketing at Mövenpick Ice Cream, added: “With such an impressive selection of highly innovative recipes from chefs all over the country from all kinds of establishments, it was an incredibly hard task for the judges to narrow them down to just six finalists.”

Joining Pickett and Jones on the judging panel are chefs Matt Owens and Christopher Basten, along with Stockpot editor Sheila Eggleston.

The winner of the competition will receive a luxury weekend for two in the home of Mövenpick Ice Cream in Switzerland, with two lucky runners up joining a patisserie and desserts day course at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons.

Finalists can be viewed on the competition website: http://www.movenpick-icecreamcompetition.co.uk/finalists