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The Craft Guild of Chefs is delighted to announce that the UK’s most prestigious annual chef competition, the National Chef of the Year 2016 is now open for entry.

The competition is open to all ethnicities of chef, male or female, from all sectors of the in-dustry. The deadline for entry is Friday April 10.

The National Chef of the Year was established in 1972 and winning has helped establish the careers of its winners which include Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt-Matthias, Mark Sargeant, Steve Love, Simon Hulstone and Hrishikesh Desai.

National Chef of the Year 2016, Russell Bateman secured the title on his third attempt on Tuesday October 7, 2014, stating: “It’s a huge honour to win National Chef of the Year. It’s amazing to think my name has been added to that list of wonderful past winners. To be recognised by the fantastic line up of judges was a massive boost for me personally. I look forward to seeing the competition go from strength to strength.”

David Mulcahy, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition is looking forward to commencing the search for National Chef of the Year 2016. “The Na-tional Chef of the Year is a benchmark for chef talent in the UK today and a career-enhancing challenge for anyone who takes part. Not only is the award highly respected but the competition process itself provides an unrivalled platform for testing your culinary skills to the max.”

This year, the esteemed panel of judges will be chaired by Clare Smyth, chef patron at the three Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Clare was among a ‘superchef’ line-up of judges at the October final which included the then chair Phil Howard, Brett Graham, Bruce Poole, Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galletti and Tom Kerridge.

The competition would not be possible without the support of sponsors, which this year include: KNORR, Lockhart Catering Equipment, RARE, Nespresso, Continental Chef Sup-plies and Churchill China.

Stefan Horsnell, category marketing director, Unilever Food Solutions, the company be-hind KNORR®, said: “When National Chef of the Year launches it always creates a real buzz in the industry.

“Who will enter and who will go on to compete in the semi-finals and finals is wide open at the moment. One thing we can guarantee is this competition attracts chefs from across our industry, who all share the same passion – food. Good luck to all those who are stepping up to the plate to compete for this coveted title.”

This year, the brief is to create an innovative menu for four people, focusing on technical skills, seasonality and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Entrants have until Friday April 10 to submit their entry for paper judging from which a shortlist of 40 chefs will be selected to go through to the semi-finals in June. Please visit www.craftguildofchefs.org.uk for more details and an entry form. The initial paper judging of the entries takes place on Friday May 15 and the semi-finalists will be revealed on Tuesday May 19.

The heats will take place at Sheffield College on Thursday June 11 and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Wednesday June 24. Eight chefs will go through to the National Chef of the Year final which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday October 6th, visit http://www.therestaurantshow.co.uk for details.

In addition to claiming the UK’s most prestigious culinary title including the specially de-signed framed winner’s gold medal, Russell was awarded a £1,250 voucher towards its product range, a unique study trip to France including dinner at a 3 Michelin starred restau-rant. KNORR presented him with a £1,500 adventure voucher. He also received an exclu-sively designed plate by Churchill and £500 worth of its product, £1,500 in Electrolux Pro-fessional equipment and a study trip to Dubai courtesy of Continental Chef Supplies.

For more information visit http://craftguildofchefs.org