After four rounds of heats, the finalists in the running to be crowned The National Chef of the Year 2020 have been announced by the Craft Guild of Chefs.
After more than 100 entries, the competition has been whittled down to the final 10 cooks, with chefs from hotels across the country such as The Ryebeck, The Zetter and Coworth Park making the cut.
Wowing the judges in the first heat which took place at Sheffield College on Tuesday 11th June was Marc Billings, sous chef at Prestwold Hall.
The heat winners from London were Fraser Bruce, head chef at The Halsetown Inn, Mehdi Lahmadi, junior sous chef at Coworth Park Hotel and Steve Groves, head chef from Roux at Parliament Square.
The other six finalists are:
- Nick Edgar, head chef at The Ryebeck Hotel
- Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle
- Ben Boeynaems, head chef at The Zetter Hotel
- Harry Kirkpatrick, sous chef, Trinity Restaurant
- Karl O’Dell, head chef at Texture London
- Nick Smith, head chef at Vacherin
Chair of judges, Gary Jones, executive chef from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons said: “We’ve seen some really innovative dishes this year and a huge variety in the methods and styles of cooking. I think one of the main reasons for this is the tweak we made to the brief where one element could be cooked in advance. Chefs have truly risen to this challenge, with some incredible flavours being served, as it’s a more familiar way of cooking for them.”
Organiser of the competition and vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy added: “With just over one hundred entries in this year’s competition it’s exciting for us to discover the new top ten in the running for the 2020 title. We’ve also got ten talented chefs lined up to be pushed into the limelight in the young chef competition having earned their place either through a heat or by being a leading competition winner.”
This year’s judging line up includes Clare Smyth, Jonny Lake, Claude Bosi, Philip Howard and Chantelle Nicholson.
For 2019, the Young Chef of the Year has a new chair of judges, with Hrishikesh Desai from Gilpin Hotel taking the lead.
Over the last week, the competition has confirmed six more finalists with Jordon Powell being the first to earn a spot at The Restaurant Show when he won his heat in Sheffield.
George Harding, senior chef de partie at The Atlantic Hotel was the heat winner at Le Cordon Bleu yesterday.
The remaining final spots were given to Bethan Disley-Jones, apprentice pastry chef, The Art School Liverpool, Gercelynn Mae Dionio, demi chef de partie at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Sion Hughes, chef de partie at Carden Park Hotel & Spa and William Keeble, demi chef de partie from Whatley Manor.
Four chefs have already been seeded straight to the final by winning some of the UK’s top titles including Ben Cowley who was the Graduate Awards Highest Achiever, Matthew Nicholls who won The British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year and Sam Everton representing World Skills.
The final place will be the winner of the Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence which will be announced in July.
Both finals will take place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday 1st October in front of a live audience.
Chefs will discover the brief at a mentor day on Tuesday 10th September.