Following a summer of sporting glory for Team GB, the Craft Guild of Chefs today announced the winner of The National Chef of the Year 2012 in the wake of a final cook-off of Olympic proportions.
Alyn Williams, of Alyn Williams at The Westbury, took the glory after competing against seven other finalists at the live culinary battle at The Restaurant Show at London’s Earls Court 2, London.
Impressing a judging panel of industry greats, Alyn follows in the footsteps of Gordon Ramsay, Simon Hulstone, Mark Sargeant, David Everitt-Matthias and last year’s star of the show, Frederick Forster, propelling him up the ladder in terms of his reputation in the culinary field.
To seal the deal in the ultimate competition for chefs, Alyn yesterday prepared a well thought out menu of paying close attention to authenticity, sourcing, seasonality, timing and wastage, while creating maximum flavour, texture, balance and style.
- Fillets of mackerel/salted cucumber/mussels/parsley/ lemon puree/pak choi/turnip
- Saddle of Venison/roasted &smoked/beets/fig/salsify/rösti/yoghurt/cooking juices
- Caramelised white chocolate pannacotta/orange doughnuts/hazelnut ice cream
Alyn had to choose his ingredients from a mystery basket, with the list of seasonal produce presented to this year’s finalists as an order form to be returned to organisers before the final cook-off. This year’s basket of ingredients included high welfare game and meats in season, sustainable fish and seafood and a wide array of fresh fruit and vegetables.
As well as national acclaim, Alyn has walked away with a tremendous prize package including cash, an exclusive study trip with dinner at a 3-starred Michelin restaurant in France, a second study trip to Norway, a raft of master classes, as well as specialist chef’s products and equipment.
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “Winning this competition can seriously enhance the career prospects of a chef. The skills required to compete and succeed at this level must be of the highest order. I have the upmost respect for those that enter The National Chef of the Year, congratulations to all of this year’s finalists and Alyn, our winner for 2012.”
Runners up were Joe Mccafferty (Chrysan Restaurant) followed closely by Paul Matthews (The Hunter S).
An impressive panel of some of the UK’s most respected chefs judged this year’s final, including the likes of Philip Howard, Gary Hunter, Angela Hartnett, Atul Kochhar, Mark Sargeant, Tom Kerridge, Paul Gayler, Henry Brosi, William Curley, Daniel Clifford and Lou Jones.
Philip Howard, 2012 chairman of the National Chef of the Year and chef proprietor at Michelin-starred The Square in Mayfair, said: “It was a great honour for me to watch this year’s finalists prepare their dishes, with such a high standard displayed across the board. It was a hard call, but Alyn had that certain edge to put him on a pedestal, a rising star with the potential to become one of Britain’s most respected chefs. Across all 3 courses his menu was clean, flavoursome and well balanced.”
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, especially since switching to an annual format.
The eight finalists made it through following a series of live semi-finals at two of the UK’s best culinary training centres, Sheffield College and Westminster Kingsway College, where 32 chefs were eliminated from the competition.