With past winners including Gordon Ramsay, Simon Hulstone and Hrishikesh Desai, the competition seeks to find which chef has the talent, flair, skill and passion to be deservidely named National Chef of the Year 2012.
“It’s a long road to the final,” said David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs. “Entries need to be submitted by 1 May and if successful, chefs will then have to get through the challenging semi-finals, before even getting into the final eight.
“The calibre of entries seems to get stronger and stronger every year, and I am looking forward to another excellent challenge in 2012. In recent years we’ve introduced categories to reflect the ethnic diversity here in the UK and it certainly went a long way in reflecting the wealth of different culinary talent in this country.”
Celebrating the multicultural nature of the UK is the key aim of the competition and the revised format, which was introduced in 2010, is certainly helping to showcase that desire.
The categories for 2012:
- Asian / Oriental
- Modern British / European
- Rest of the World / Other
Frederick Forster, head chef at Nuovo Restaurant, was the star of the show in 2011, becoming the National Chef of the Year at the third time of asking. Speaking to BigHospitality after his triumph, Forster said: “The competition really deserves 100 per cent and you really have to focus, so it was now or never. Until now my motto has been 'if at first you don't succeed try again' and I'm glad to have done it this year."
How to enter:
- Firstly, visit www.craftguildofchefs.org and download an application form.
- Then, chefs must get their ideas down on paper for a three-course lunch menu for four people before 1 May 2012.
- From the paper judging, 40 successful entrants will be invited to compete in the semi-finals to be held at prestigious culinary training centres Sheffield College on 19 June and Westminster Kingsway College on 26 June.
- The final itself will take place at The Restaurant Show on 9 October.
Mulcahy added: “Every stage of the competition will feature intense scrutinising by an experienced panel of chefs.
“We’ll definitely be carrying on in that vein again this year and urge any chef who thinks they have what it takes to win this coveted prize to enter the competition. It’s a celebration of talent - open to all - and we don’t want any factor to limit a chef’s chance of competing.”