Mark Stinchcombe from the Lucknam Park Hotel, is the first up-and-coming chef to be crowned Young National Chef of the Year after winning the live cook-off in the new competition, held at the Restaurant Show today
Organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs to mirror its well-established National Chef of the Year Competition, the new award for the younger generation is designed to nurture talent from young chefs.
The ten contestants in this invitation-only competition all prepared a starter and dessert of their choice, as well as a main meal based on hake. According to David Mulcahy, VP of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition, Stinchcombe’s strength was in the balance of his three courses.
“All 10 competitors were particularly strong in starters and desserts. But the winner produced three balanced courses of very high quality. He was a very strong winner, all judges had given him top marks,” he said.
Judge Brian Turner, who was one of the judges for the main course, added: “He had a very good main course. It was served hot, tasty and nicely balanced. For me, he was a very worthy winner.”
In second place was Tom Lee from The Carriage Works in Liverpool, followed by Shaun Dickens from L’Ortolan in third place.
Other finalists taking part in this morning’s cook-off were: Hyun You Im from Roux Fine Dining, Luke Fouracre and Jack Allibone from the House of Commons, Josh Philips from the Old Government House in Guernsey, Brendan Baxter from Raymond McArdle at Restaurant 23, Aaron Darnley from Edmonds Restaurant and Jarad McCarroll from The Ritz.
Setting the standard
Sponsored by Electrolux Professional, Knorr and Lockhart Catering Equipment, the Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) competition is set to become the benchmark for the younger generation of chefs, said Turner.
“It’ll be the natural thing for young people to get into so they get to know what it’s like to compete. It’ll be one of the staging posts that young chefs will look to try to win,” he said.
Today’s competitors were judged for a combination of taste, texture, skills, presentation and ease of service. But the top priority for judges was the taste, said Turner, followed by the presentation.
The YNCOTY was followed by the National Chef of the Year cook-off. That has also now been completed, with the results due to be announced at the National Restaurant Awards ceremony later tonight.
BigHospitality will bring you more live updates throughout the day as events unfold.