Organisers of Young National Chef of the Year have confirmed that this year’s battle of culinary greats in the making is being opened up to more chefs who demonstrate excellence.
The Craft Guild of Chefs competition, in partnership with Knorr, sits alongside The National Chef of The Year and will include semi-final heats for the first time since the title was launched four years ago.
Previously, eight winners of some of the biggest competitions for young chefs were automatically selected by the Guild to qualify for a place in a live final at The Restaurant Show.
This year, four chefs aged 18-23 will automatically win a seeded place and will be made up of winners of young chef competitions from the British Culinary Federation, the Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence, North West Young Chef of the Year and WorldSkills.
The remaining four will be made up of the winners of two semi-finals to which up to 20 young chefs from industry wide competitions including The Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards, Young Welsh Chef of the Year, Young Scottish Chef of the year, Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Chef, Young Game Chef of the Year, Young Grampian Chef of the Year, Young North East Chef of the Year, South West Young Chef of the Year, will be invited to compete. The semi finals are set to be held at Sheffield College on June 18th and the University of West London on July 2nd to coincide with The National Chef of the Year semi-finals.
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said the new format was inevitable as more organisations got to hear about the competition.
“When we first launched the title, we selected winners of eight of the biggest competitions in the UK to build up interest and give us the chance to work more closely with associations and groups and their individual events,” he said. “Last year, however, regional development agencies and other bodies started asking if they could get involved.
“By working with Knorr and holding two semi-finals with up to 20 young chefs getting the chance to compete, we are able to open up the competition to more of the UK’s emerging culinary stars.”
Stefan Horsnell, category marketing director at Unilever Food Solutions, says: “In a monumental year where Knorr celebrates its 175th anniversary, we’re putting the rising stars of our industry firmly in the spotlight by making this year’s Young National Chef of the Year competition the biggest and best yet.
“Knorr has injected a huge investment into this year’s competition to really set it aside from any other in the industry and position it as the young chef competition to win. As the prelude to the prestigious National Chef of the Year competition, we want to work with the Craft Guild of Chefs to create a competition stage that will rival some of the best in world.
“Recognising and celebrating young talent has never been so important. These young chefs are fundamental to the future of our industry, so we must create an opportunity for them to shine – look at what Ben Murphy and Lewis Gallagher are already achieving.”
To inspire candidates the National Chef of the Year 2006, Mark Sargeant has been lined up as the competition’s ambassador. Mark who was former head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant at Claridge’s and is now the proprietor of the Rocksalt Restaurant in Folkestone has also presented numerous TV shows including ITV’s Saturday Cookbook and is sure to be a hit with aspiring young chefs.
As well as national acclaim, Young National Chef of the Year 2013 will receive an impressive package of prizes, including the chance to take part in invaluable study trips.
The 2012 winner, Ben Murphy, who works at Koffmann’s in Knightsbridge, London, won a study trip to The Lodge on Loch Goil as part of his prize, one of the most exclusive, five star culinary experiences, courtesy of Lockhart Catering and Churchill.
This year’s winner will be revealed along with The National Chef of the Year 2013 at an awards ceremony following The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, October 8th.
For more information, visit www.craftguildofchefs.org, contact Clair Bowman on 01293 610 329 or follow @TNCOTY #YNCOTY on Twitter.