Now in its 39th year, the competition is open to all chefs over the age of 23 who work in any sector of the catering industry, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, universities and contract caterers.
The competition will be continuing with its revised format, introduced last year, which aims to showcase the multicultural culinary landscape in the UK. Categories will be divided into: Asian / Oriental; Modern British / European; and Rest of the World / Other.
Past winners of the National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) competition include Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sargeant, Kevin Viner and Simon Hulstone. Last year’s winner was Hrishikesh Desai of the Lucknam Park Hotel near Bath.
Desai said of his experience: “It was a tough competition and not without its challenges - but weirdly it’s that kind of pressure which I really enjoy. As a competitor you don't know what the judges are thinking so you have to be able to trust yourself and your own instincts.
“Next steps for me will definitely be a Master of Culinary Arts and I would love to follow in Simon Hulstone’s footsteps and represent Great Britain in the Bocuse d'Or. It would be the biggest honour in my life to represent this country. Britain has given me so much - it has taken me in as a citizen and has allowed me to develop my career.”
How to enter
Contestants must first submit their paper ideas for a three-course lunch menu for four people.
Entries must be sent in by 12 May 2011. Paper judging will take place on 10 June 2011, which will shortlist 40 contestants to compete in one of five semi finals. These will be held at culinary training centres in London, Portsmouth and Sheffield between 29 August and 16 September 2011. The winner of each semi final will be announced on the day.
The Craft Guild of Chefs said that advancing through the various stages of the competition will require a well thought out menu.
“Competitors should pay particular attention to authenticity, sourcing, seasonality, timing and wastage when creating a menu that offers maximum flavour, texture, balance and style.”
Applications can be made via the guild’s website, at www.craftguildofchefs.org