Mentoring opportunities with top chefs, ‘foodie’ trips for finalists and an annual reunion for alumni – entering the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards has never been so fruitful.

Now in its second decade, the scheme – which offers working chefs under 23 the chance to prove they really are at the cutting edge – incorporates a host of new incentives for 2013.

It has also been confirmed that chef Paul Gayler MBE, who is known for his ‘Eurasian’ cuisine as executive chef at London’s Lanesborough Hotel, is this year’s chairman of examiners.

Vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser Steve Munkley said the awards were evolving and the new elements built on 11 successful years of celebrating the best young chefs.

“We’ll be having a mentor day for those who pass the initial cooking test, and I’lll be creating some video tutorials with Master Craftsmen covering aspects of the exam,” he said. “We’re also planning to take finalists on a couple of ‘foodie’ trips to places like the fish and meat markets.

“Now we are in our 11th year, we have built up a great group of former winners, and to give them the opportunity to meet up, share experiences and network, we are also introducing an annual reunion for our alumni. This will include an informal, but educational, outing of some kind, the first one this summer hosted by Tony Reynolds of Reynolds fruit and veg empire.”

Steve, executive chef at London’s Royal Garden Hotel, now wants to hear
from young chefs who would like to enter this year’s Graduate Awards.
Five out of 12 candidates passed last year’s final exam, achieving the
85% needed to make the Craft Guild hall of fame.

After submitting
entries by email, a select few will be asked to take a regional cooking
test at University College Birmingham or the University of West London
in Ealing on 27th June 2013. Chefs who make it through will then take a
final cooking exam at University of West London on 5th September 2013,
judged by top chefs including Paul.

This year’s successful
graduates will be announced in front of hundreds of influential guests
at an awards presentation at London’s Hyatt Carlton Towers Hotel on 9th
September 2013.    

Graduates also win a European study tour,
while the Highest Graduate Achiever also receives a special prize. There
is also an Employers’ trophy for excellence in training.

The deadline for this year’s entries is 17th May 2013 (chefs do not have
to be members of the Craft Guild). Ingredients will be supplied (chefs
must bring own knives and small equipment). 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 e-mail