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Chefs to take on the biggest challenge of their career

The paper entries have been judged and the Craft Guild of Chefs can now reveal the 40 chefs going though to the semi-final of the National Chef of the Year competition. The National Chef of the Year is the most prestigious of all UK chef competitions and widely recognised as a life-changing and career-boosting event for its winners.

The semi-finalists listed below will compete in the heats at Sheffield College on Thursday 11 June or at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London on Wednesday 24 June.

Lee Bird, Head Chef, Gilpin Hotel and Lake House

Ian Boden, Independent Development Chef, Flourish Food Solutions

James Buckley, Executive Chef, Excel London, Levy Restaurants UK

David Burgum, Head Chef, BaxterStorey

Jake Burton Stewart, Senior Chef de Partie, BaxterStorey

David Bush, Sous Chef, The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

Martin Carabott, Sous Chef, The Royal Automobile Club

Elisha Carter, Head Chef, Café Royal Hotel

Jamie Coleman, Senior Sous Chef, Saunton Sands

Paul Cunliffe, Chef Patron, The Dunsforth Public House & Dining

David Davey-Smith, Chef Instructor, RAF

Andrew Ditchfield, Pastry Chef, House of Commons

Nick Evans, Head Chef, Middlethorpe Hall Hotel

Mark Forman, Executive Head Chef, Goodwood Hotel

Paul Foster, Head Chef, Mallory Court

Michelle Fourie, Senior Sous Chef, Ember Yard Tavern

Mark Froydenlund, Head Chef, Restaurant Marcus

Adam Handling, Head Chef, Restaurant Adam Handling

Anna Haugh, Head Chef, London House

Ollie Hay, Senior Sous Chef, Clifford Chance, Restaurant Associates

James Holah, Head Chef, Sonny’s Kitchen

Stephen Humphries, Head Chef, Foxel Ltd

Larry Jayasekara, Sous Chef, Gordon Ramsay Holding

Mark Kempson, Head Chef, Kitchen W8

Luciano Lucioli, Head Chef, Marks & Spencers Headquarters (Lusso – CH&Co)

Joe McCafferty, Head Chef, Bone Daddies Ltd

Lawrence McCarthy, Sous Chef, The Ledbury Restaurant

Roger Olsson, Executive Sous Chef, The Dorchester Hotel

Jack O’Sullivan, Sous Chef, The Angel Inn at Hetton

Peter Pickering, Sous Chef, Galvin La Chapelle

Sauarbh Prabhakar, Executive Sous Chef, Hilton Hotels

Gabor Pusztaidoc, Head Chef, The Pack Horse Inn, Ellingham

Luke Smith, Head Chef, Lusso CH&Co

Zoltan Szabo, Senior Head Chef, Cameron House on Loch Lomond

Marcin Szelag, Senior Sous Chef, Rocksalt Restaurant

Adam Thomason, Head Chef, Restaurant Associates

Simon Webb, Head Chef, Restaurant Associates

Nick Whatmough, Head Chef, Merrill Lynch

Andy Wright, Sous Chef, Restaurant 23

Neil Yule, Head Chef, Sodexo

The top scoring chefs from both heats will then go through to compete in the National Chef of the Year final at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday 6 October at Olympia, London.  This year, the brief is to create an innovative menu for four people, focusing on technical skills, seasonality and sustainably sourced ingredients.

This year all the finalists will have the opportunity to work with a mentor to help them achieve the best result possible in the final.  The mentoring panel is made up of well respected chefs from across the UK, including previous winners of the title. The Mentor Day is designed to focus the minds of the finalists on the task ahead and will include workshops, masterclasses, meet the sponsor sessions and the big reveal of the mystery basket. It will take place on Tuesday 15 September at Unilever Innovation Kitchen in Leatherhead.

David Mulcahy, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition says, “National Chef of the Year is arguably the toughest culinary challenge in the UK’s competition calendar and the semi-finalists are now facing up to what will be a demanding but ultimately a hugely rewarding experience. Over the past 45 years, we have seen some fantastic chefs make a name for themselves through this competition and I look forward to witnessing this year’s talent.”

Stuart Flint, Regional Training and Demonstration Manager at Electrolux Professional commented: “It’s an exciting time for the industry to see such enormous talent at the semi-final stage and we’re so pleased to be a sponsor of such a hotly-contested competition. Previous winners have gone on to have exceptional careers, and we’re excited to see how this year’s line-up express their culinary flair.”

Alan Swinson, Culinary Arts Director at Le Cordon Bleu London comments on the partnership between the two significant names in the culinary industry: “Le Cordon Bleu is delighted to be hosting the semi-finals of the National Chef of the Year for the second time. It was a pleasure last year to have so many of the UK’s leading chefs under our roof. We are really looking forward to welcoming the National Chef of The Year team again this year.”

Winning National Chef of the Year has helped establish the careers of chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt-Matthias, Mark Sargeant, Steve Love, Simon Hulstone, Hrishikesh Desai and last year’s winner Russell Bateman.

The esteemed panel of judges will be chaired by Clare Smyth, chef patron at the three Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

For more information visit: www.craftguildofchefs.org or follow @Craft_Guild #NCOTY on Twitter.