Organisers of the biggest chef competition in the UK are inviting Britain’s rising culinary stars to step up to the plate and enter The National Chef of The Year 2013.
The competition, now in its fifth decade, is recognised as the annual search for a UK chef that stands out from the crowd in terms of their ‘wow factor’, skill and passion, following in the footsteps of Gordon Ramsay, Simon Hulstone, Mark Sargeant and Frederick Forster.
This year’s victor will be announced at an awards ceremony and VIP dinner following a live competition final at The Restaurant Show in London on Tuesday, October 8th.
As well as national acclaim, those that take the title walk away with an impressive haul of prizes, with last year’s winner, Alyn Williams, winning cash, an exclusive study trip with dinner at a 3-starred Michelin restaurant in France, a second study trip to Norway, master classes with industry greats and specialist chef’s products and equipment.
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said they were particularly keen to embrace diversity on all levels this year.
“We’d like to see chefs from all different backgrounds enter the competition and have a fantastic team of ambassadors to help achieve this aim,” he said. “Joining chairman of judges Philip Howard, we have Angela Hartnett, chef proprietor of Murano, Michelin-starred Atul Kochhar and myself, who all hope to make this year’s competition the best one yet.
“Winning this competition can seriously enhance the career prospects of a chef and 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 and am really looking forward to receiving the entries.”
Since 2010, one of the key objectives of the prestigious competition has been to celebrate the multicultural nature of the UK, with The National Chef of The Year now divided up into three categories, Asian / Oriental, Modern British / European and Rest of the World.
The initial paper judging of the entries takes place on May 13th, followed by semi-finals at Sheffield College on June 19th and the University of West London on July 2nd and 3rd.
A mentor day for finalists, which invites suppliers to showcase ingredients in a farmer’s market-style exhibition and includes workshops, key note speeches and words of wisdom from organisers, chef judges and past competitors, will then be held on September 20th.
Advancing through the various stages of the competition requires a well thought out menu, with particular attention paid to authenticity, sourcing, seasonality, timing and wastage while creating a menu that offers maximum flavour, texture, balance and style.
Finalists also have to create a dish from a mystery basket, with the list of seasonal produce from land and sea presented as an order form to be completed and returned to competition organisers before the competition climax.
Alyn Williams, of Alyn Williams at The Westbury, took the glory last year after going head to head against seven other finalists. “Winning the title ‘The National Chef of the Year’ was one of the most significant achievements within my career,” he said. “I now have high hopes of the opportunities that will come as a result of winning the title.”
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How to enter:
Firstly, chefs must get their ideas down on paper for a three-course lunch menu for four people before Friday, April 19th. From the paper judging, 40 successful entrants will be invited to compete in the semi-finals, with eight chosen to go on to the final.
To apply, visit www.craftguildofchefs.org and download an application form. For further information, contact Clair Bowman on 01293 610 329 or follow @TNCOTY on Twitter.