THE next stage of the KNORR National Chef of the Year 2008 competition get underway next month as 40 chefs go forward to compete in semi-finals around the country.
The bi-annual competition, run by the Craft Guild of Chefs, has been running for over 30 years and is the most highly respected culinary challenge in the industry today. Past winners include Eyck Zimmer, Steve Love, Mark Sargeant, Bruce Sangster and Gordon Ramsay.
The panel of judges consisted of: Andrew Bennett, Sheraton Park Lane Hotel; Gary Hunter, Westminster Kingsway College; Captain Geoff Acott, DFSS; Mike Allen, DFSS; Duncan Holloway, Eton College and Richard Hunt, formerly of the Felbridge Hotel.
Witnessed by Stephen Scuffell of The Craft Guild of Chefs, the judges deliberated over the paper entries before making their final decision on the 40 semi-finalists who will progress to the next round of the competition.
To enter the 2008 challenge, contestants had to devise a three-course lunch menu for four people; following the format of one hot and one cold canape, a main course created from a regional breed of pork followed by their take on a traditional British pudding.
The 40 semi-finalists will now go through to five semi-final cook offs where they will create their menus in front of a live audience and panel of respected judges.
The winner of each semi-final heat, together with the highest scoring three runners-up, will compete against each other in the intense and exciting Grand Final at The Restaurant Show on October 7 2008, where their creativity, skill and nerve will be tested by the renowned basket of mystery ingredients.
The competition climaxes that very evening when the overall winner will be crowned KNORR National Chef of the Year 2008 at a gala awards event and presented with his £10,000 prize money cheque.
A selection of prizes for the winner and runners up will also be available, including a trip to Italy courtesy of equipment sponsors, Electrolux.
David Mulcahy, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “The standard of entries was extremely high and getting down to a shortlist of 40 took a lot of deliberation.
"The 40 chefs come from a wide range of establishments and backgrounds which should make the next stage of the competition very interesting indeed.
“Live cook-offs are a great way of testing not only the chef’s cooking skills but also his stamina and ability to cope under pressure, which are obviously essential skills for a top chef.
The 40 semi-finalists from the paper-judging round are now confirmed as:
Semi-final 1, 12th March 2008
Hotel & Catering Show, 11th-12th March 2008, Bournemouth International Centre
• Russell Benton Investec (Restaurant Associates), London
• Mark Budd The Stafford Hotel, London
• James Hamilton Hotel Hougue du Pommier, Castle, Guernsey
• Martin Hisbet Great Hallingbury Manor, Bishops Stortford
• Simon Hulstone The Elephant Restaurant, Torquay
• Robert Oberhoffer The Dove Restaurant, Harleston
• David Sims UBS, London
• Paul Wildish Arora International Hotel, Crawley
Semi-finals 2, 3 & 4, 8th & 9th April 2008
Food & Drink Expo, 6th-9th April 2008, NEC Birmingham
• Steven Allen Gordon Ramsay at Claridges
• Simon Atkinson UKLF CSG, (Royal Marines) Plymouth
• Nigel Bisset The Welcome to Town Country Bistro, Swansea
• Ian Boden Limes Restaurant, Derby
• Keith Burton Sodexho, Stevenage
• Brian Canale Heritage Portfolio Ltd, Edinburgh
• Martin Clayton S.A. Foods Ltd, Derby
• Clark Crawley Barclays Wealth
• Ben Ford British Airways Waterside, West Drayton
• Michael Godfrey Bekynton, Eton
• David Hunt Sodexho, Scotland and Ireland
• Richard Knights The Lavender House, Norfolk
• Royston Maddams Leander Club, Oxfordshire
• Fergus Martin Wyboston Lakes Ltd, Wyboston
• James Rogers The Dog Inn, Suffolk
• Christopher Souto El Toro Grill, Belfast
• Robert Stordy University of Derby, Buxton
• Stephen Thompson 114 The Arch Restaurant, Leeds
• Wayne Thompson New Hall Hotel, Walmley Village
• Trevor Tobin Chapter Two, London
• Andy Twells Eurest Catering, Feltham
• David Waplington The Bay Hotel, Newquay
• Alyn Williams Petrus, London
• Andreas Wingert Lucknam Park Hotel, Chippenham
Semi-final 5, 22nd May 2008
North East Culinary Trade Association Annual Event (NECTA)
21st-22nd May 2008, Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, Newcastle
• Anthony Heath The Pumphouse Restaurant, Durham
• Michael Jameson Longhirst Hall, Northumberland
• David Kennedy 32 Clayton Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
• Ross Murray Dunblane Hydro Hotel, Dunblane
• Yoram Odentz SMH, Aberdeen
• Lee Pattie Golf View Hotel, Nairn, Scotland
• David Ward Hamden Park, Glasgow
• Justin Woods Castle Green Hotel, Kendal