A handful of some of the country’s best hotel cooks will battle it out to be crowned National Chef of the Year, after the finalists for the competition were announced yesterday.
A total of 12 chefs were unveiled during an Instagram Live on the Craft Guild of Chefs channel yesterday, with chefs from hotels such as The Beaumont in London, Gravetye Manor, Inverlochy Castle and 1 Devonshire Gardens making it through to the final stages of the competition.
Whittled down from 33 to 12, chefs Paul Ainsworth and David Mulcahy revealed who had made the cut, with the finalists now going on to cook at CORD by Le Cordon Bleu.
The final will be aired at a VIP red-carpet premiere at the Everyman Broadgate cinema on October 21.
The finalists are:
- Marc Billings, head chef, Prestwold Hall and Hall Barns at Prestwold, Leicestershire
- Ben Boeynaems, executive chef, The Beaumont Hotel, London
- Ross Brown, chef de partie, BaxterStorey, London
- Iain Gourlay, head chef, Cringletie House Hotel, Scottish Borders
- Elliot Hill, head chef, Panoramic 34, Liverpool
- Christopher Niven, executive chef, Marine North Berwick, East Lothian
- Russell Plowman, senior sous chef, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Perthshire
- Stefan Sewell, head chef, RAF, Suffolk
- Jack Shaw, head chef, Lexington Catering/ Savills, London
- Adam Smith, sous chef, Gravetye Manor, Sussex
- Thomas Swaby, head chef, Inverlochy Castle, Fort William
- Gary Townsend, head chef, 1 Devonshire Gardens, Glasgow
For the final, the chefs will serve up their original menus from the entry stage which allowed each chef to tell their story of the pandemic through food. Menus will include a vegetarian starter incorporating ingredients on the KNORR Future 50 Foods list.
The main course focuses on supporting British suppliers on land and at sea with a dish incorporating both meat and fish, whilst desserts should reflect the start of the pandemic, when ingredients were sparse, and households turned to baking for comfort.
Chair of judges, Paul Ainsworth said: “What a final we’ve got ahead of us with this incredible top twelve! There have been some truly creative and delicious looking dishes demonstrated in the first two stages of the competition and we can’t wait to taste them in the next round. This is the UK’s toughest culinary competition and any chef who puts themselves forward in these challenging times deserves the utmost respect and recognition. That chef is certain to go down in history with their winning menu reflecting the toughest times our industry has ever faced.”
NCOTY is run in partnership with KNORR and supported by CCS, Churchill, Rational UK and Le Cordon Bleu.