From the Olympic Games to the finals of the European Football Championships, 2012 is gearing up to be a massive year for competitions. In the culinary world it’s certainly no different, with the most prestigious prize of them all once again up for grabs.
The National Chef of the Year, which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary, is the most sought after title for all chefs across the UK. The battle will be on to see who has the talent, flair, skill and passion and can rise to the top of their game to become The National Chef of the Year for 2012.
The competition has grown beyond belief, especially since switching to an annual format. The likes of Gordon Ramsey, Simon Hulstone and Hrishikesh Desai are all past winners. Frederick Forster was the star of the show in 2011 and became The National Chef of the Year at the third time of asking.
“To win The National Chef of the Year was beyond my wildest dreams and such an immense feeling, said Frederick, head chef at Nuovo Restaurant. “I was up against some tremendous talent, which makes this victory even more special. I love cooking and it’s fantastic to have your skills recognised. I feel honoured.”
Celebrating the multicultural nature of the UK is the key aim of the competition and the revised format, which was introduced in 2010, is certainly helping to showcase that desire. This year the categories will be divided up as follows:
• Asian / Oriental
• Modern British / European
• Rest of the World / Other
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “It’s a long road to the final. Entries need to be submitted by May 1st and if successful chefs will then have to get through the challenging semi-finals, before even getting into the final eight.
“The calibre of entries seems to get stronger and stronger every year, and I am looking forward to another excellent challenge in 2012. In recent years we’ve introduced categories to reflect the ethnic diversity here in the UK and it certainly went a long way in reflecting the wealth of different culinary talent in this country.
“We’ll definitely be carrying on in that vein again this year and urge any chef who thinks they have what it takes to win this coveted prize to enter the competition. It’s a celebration of talent, open to all, and we don’t want any factor to limit a chef’s chance of competing.
“Every stage of the competition will feature intense scrutinising by an experienced panel of chefs and I am delighted to welcome Philip Howard as this year’s Chairman of Judges.”
Advancing through the various stages of the competition will require a well thought out menu – competitors should pay particular attention to authenticity, sourcing, seasonality, timing and wastage when creating a menu that offers maximum flavour, texture, balance and style.
How to enter:
Firstly chefs must get their ideas down on paper for a three-course lunch menu for four people before 1st May 2012. From the paper judging, 40 successful entrants will be invited to compete in the semi finals to be held at prestigious culinary training centres Sheffield College (19 June 2012) and Westminster Kingsway College (26 June 2012). The final itself will take place at The Restaurant Show on 9th October 2012.
To apply for this prestigious competition visit www.craftguildofchefs.org and download an application form. Alternatively, for further information contact Clair Bowman on 01293 610 329 or follow @NCOTY_2012 on Twitter.