Four highly-competitive semi-finals were held at two of the UK’s best culinary training centres, Sheffield College and Westminster Kingsway College, with a total of 40 hopefuls battling it out to win a place in the final. Hailing from a mix of sectors, the final eight will now have to impress a panel of industry greats at The Restaurant Show at London’s Earls Court 2 on Tuesday October 9th in the live final.
They will need to prepare a well thought out menu, paying attention to authenticity, sourcing, seasonality, timing and wastage, while creating maximum flavour, texture, balance and style.
Whoever takes the crown will follow in the footsteps of Gordon Ramsay, Simon Hulstone, Mark Sargeant, David Everitt-Matthias and Frederick Forster who was star of the show in 2011.
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “Having had over 120 entries in the first instance and four live cook offs, we are now a giant step closer to finding The Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year 2012. Our final eight now have to knuckle down in preparation for a high profile showdown at The Restaurant Show.
“If the semi-finals were anything to go by, our panel of chefs, this year led by Philip Howard as our 2012 chairman, has a real task ahead with such a high calibre of chefs making it through.”
Says Philip Howard, 2012 chairman of judges: “It’s a great honour for me to not only judge but also to watch winning dishes being prepared. It’s fair to say that this year was a challenge to judge and the finalists are reflective of the high standards seen across the board. There has been some clear talent shining through with dishes full of both vitality and flavour as well seasonality.”
The Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year is the most sought after title for chefs across the UK and a chance to prove they have the talent, flair, skill and passion to rise to the top of their game. The competition has grown beyond belief, especially since switching to an annual format.
Who’s Who in the Final?
The final eight in the running are:
• Andrew Wright – Restaurant 23
• Alyn Williams – Alyn Williams At The Westbury
• Joe Mccafferty – Roka Restaurant
• Paul Dunstane – Restaurant Associates
• John Howie – Sodexo Prestige
• Paul Matthews – Restaurant Associates
• Justin Galea – Turnberry Hotel
• Hayden Groves – BaxterStorey
Winning the title is an outstanding achievement in itself and the tremendous prize package up for grabs, worth in excess of £15,000, is a true reflection of that.
Aside from being awarded the esteemed title of The Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year, the winner will receive a host of top-class prizes including cash, an exclusive study trip with dinner at a 3-starred Michelin restaurant, master-classes as well as specialist chef’s products and equipment.
Catering equipment supplier Lockhart Catering Equipment, Unilever’s largest brand Knorr, and one of the global leaders in appliances for professional use, Electrolux, are the headline sponsors at this year’s event. Other sponsors include Barry Callebaut, Blue Arrow Catering, Continental Chef Supplies (CCS), Churchill, Culinary Innovation, Gourmet Classic, RARE, Sheffield City College and Westminster Kingsway College.
Throughout the complete process, including the live final, there will have been in excess of 40 expert chef judges including Angela Hartnett, Tom Kerridge, Atul Kochhar, Mark Sargeant and Philip Howard.
For more on the 2012 final, visit www.craftguildofchefs.org, contact Clair Bowman on 01293 610 329 or follow @NCOTY_2012 on Twitter.