The prestigious Knorr National Chef of the Year competition has confirmed its finalists who will compete in a Ready, Steady, Cook-style cook off at the Restaurant Show in October.
Out of 40 chefs that entered the eight semi-finals, only one from each are through to the final, including highest scorers Clark Crawley, Sous Chef at Barclays Wealth in London, Frederick Forster, Head Chef at The Ritz Hotel, and Steven Allen, Head Chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges in London.
But despite scoring so well, Ramsay’s protege wasn’t confident. Allen, 28, said: "(The last round) didn’t go very well for me, it was a bit of a mess. I made a couple of mistakes so I was quite surprised to get through. Everyone was older than me except for the guy standing next to me.”
The semi-finalists had to prepare a four-course meal consisting of one cold and one hot canape, a main course consisting of a regional breed of pork, and their own take on a traditional British pudding.
Now the finalists are to come face-to-face with a mystery basket of ingredients, with which they have four hours to create another four-course meal.
Of the task ahead, Allen said: “My biggest rival is probably Simon Hulstone (Chief Proprietor of The Elephant in Torquay), but I’m not nervous yet - I’ve still got a few months to go, and I can’t worry about the dishes because I don’t know what they’re going to be. We’ll see on the day.”
The other finalists still in the competition are David Kennedy, Chief Proprietor of The Black Door in Newcastle; Ian Boden, Head Chef at Limes in Derby; Andreas Wingert, Senior Sous Chef at Lucknam Park Hotel in Colerne, Wiltshire; and Brian Canale, Head Chef at Heritage Portfolio in Edinburgh.
The grand final takes place on October 7 at the Restaurant Show in London, with the winner receiving £10,000, and a study trip to the Champagne region of France. Past winners of the competition include Steve Love, Mark Sargeant, and Gordon Ramsay.