The UK’s chefs association Craft Guild of Chefs has announced the 10 finalists who will compete for the National Chef of the Year award in October.
The chefs were selected after a series of cook-offs, with four winners and six runners-up impressing the judges at Sheffield College and Le Cordon Bleu.
The heat winners include the head chef at Borthwick Castle, Edinburgh Derek Johnstone, Glenn Evans from Las Iguanas, Liam Fauchard-Newman who works for Rhubarb and George Blogg from Gravetye Manor in West Sussex.
The next six chefs with the highest scores were David Neilson from the Number One in Balmoral, Edinburgh, Martin Frickel from Forest Side in Cumbria, Nick Smith from Harbour and Jones, Stefan Sewell from the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team, Kuba Winkowski from the Feathered Nest Country Inn in Oxfordshire and Thomas Westerland from Lucknam Park in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
Gary Jones, executive chef from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and chair of the judges, said: “Some of the cooking has been exceptional which made it a challenge for the judges to whittle 40 chefs down to just 10.
“What really stood out for me was how much the finalists listened to the brief this year and focused on the sourcing of their ingredients, considered seasonality when planning their menus, as well as showcasing their creativity and innovation. It’s set to be one of our most exciting finals yet and I can’t wait to judge it in October.”
David Mulcahy, vice president of Craft Guild of Chefs, added: “It wasn’t an easy brief this year with a vegetarian starter thrown into the mix and a very classic dessert brought in to truly test each chef’s culinary skills.
“However, the semi-finalists really embraced the challenge when putting together their menus. We saw a real variety of menus and this showed the diverse range of chefs we had from all sectors of hospitality.”