Four finalists were chosen after topping the competition in their particular heat, while four runners up with the highest marks overall were also picked to go through to the final, which will be held this year on 11 October at The Restaurant Show, Earls Court 2.
In a twist for the final this year, competition organisers The Craft Guild of Chefs have abandoned the traditional mystery basket of ingredients, and will instead ask finalists to fill in and submit an order sheet featuring a range of produce.
The change has been made to better judge the competitors’ understanding of food waste reduction.
Between now and the final, all eight competitors will be invited to attend a mentoring day with the panel of judges, which include Philip Howard, Chris Galvin, Angela Hartnett, Atul Kochhar, Vivek Singh, Andrew Bennett, Gary Hunter, Mark Flanagan, Henry Brosi, and Graham Hornigold.
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “The National Chef of the Year competition is all about pitting the best-of-the-best in the industry and finding the one chef that is worthy to be honoured with this ultimate award.
“The semi-finals have already provided us with excitement, drama and some fabulous takes on cutting edge dishes. The final is set to take the competition to another level and all competitors will need to be at the very top of their game.”
The finalists for the National Chef of the Year 2011, are:
Hayden Groves, executive chef at Lloyds of London, Avenance
Simon Webb, head chef at Restaurant Associates
Alyn Williams, chef patron at The Westbury
Craig Beacham, sous chef, The Elephant Restaurant & Brassiere
Richard Edwards, head chef, Park Restaurant, Lucknam Park Hotel
Joe McCafferty, senior chef de partie, ROKA Restaurant
Frederick Forster, head chef, Nuovo Restaurant
David Bush, senior chef de partie, House of Commons