After two regional heats at Birmingham College of Food and Thames Valley University in Ealing, at which 18 competitors were tasked with creating a rice and shellfish based main course and dessert using a mystery basket, judges including Michel Roux, Brian Turner and Gary Rhodes chose six finalists to go through.
Rhodes said: “The competitors really had to get the balance of flavours just right to avoid masking the simplicity of the seafood. There were some heated debates amongst the judges in order to agree on the final winners - we are in for one of the most exciting finals.”
The final will take place on 29 March at Westminster Kingsway College.
The six finalists are:
Gemma Almond, The General Tarleton, Ferrensby, N Yorks
Mark Birchall, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
Kenneth Culhane, BaxterStorey, Barclays, London
Stephen Stevens, Cleifiog Uchaf, Anglesey
Kevin Sutherland, BaxterStorey, Barclays, London
Kevin Tew, Corrigan’s, Mayfair, London