Le Manoir's Josh Bingham takes Highest Achiever title in Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards 2013

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Le manoir aux, Manoir aux quat'saisons, Le manoir aux quat' saisons, Crafts, Craft guild of chefs

Josh Bingham (centre) of Le Manoir with fellow Craft Guild of Chef graduates
Josh Bingham (centre) of Le Manoir with fellow Craft Guild of Chef graduates
Josh Bingham, a chef at Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, has been named this year's Highest Achiever by the Craft Guild of Chefs in its 2013 Graduate Awards.

Bingham joined eight other young chefs at the awards' final cooking examination at the University of West London on 5 September, where participants were tested by a panel of judges led by Paul Gayler of The Lanesborough.  

His score of 90 per cent, one point higher than that achieved by last year's winner James Goodyear, earnt him the Highest Achiever title but also a three-night break for two at Bourne Leisure Group's Warner Hotels. 

Five other chefs - Claire Willett of The Waterfront Restaurant, Daniel Lee of The Brooklands Hotel, Danny Hoang of Viajante and Luke Selby from Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons - also became graduates after achieving a score of more than 85 per cent, the rate needed to pass the exam. They all win a European study tour with Villeroy & Boch and a trip to Severn & Wye Smokery arranged by James Knight of Mayfair. 

High standard

At the awards presentation at London's Jumeirah Carlton Tower last night, awards organiser and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs Steve Munkley, said standards were at their highest they had ever been.

“In my view, we had the best bunch of finalists we’ve ever had and it was extremely close. One candidate even got full marks in the fishmongery, which has never happened before. An absolute pleasure to be part of this year," he said. 

Chefs must be under 23 to take part in the awards, now in their 11th year and designed to formally test and recognise a young chef's skills and knowledge in the kitchen. 

This year saw the introduction of a mentor day to help prepare the finalists for the last stage of the competition. 

“We identified that there was a shortfall in the time busy young chefs could devote to getting ready for the final and the mentor day helped prepare our seven finalists mentally,” said Munkley. “They had a full eight hours to talk about what was going to happen and ask questions, an opportunity to nail things down.”

The awards also include an Employers' trophy for excellence in training, this year won by Raymond Thompson from the University of Stirling.

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