Hayden Groves named National Chef of the Year 2013

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Head chef, Chef, National Chef of the Year, Hayden Groves

Victory for Hayden Groves, who wins the National Chef of the Year title after four years of making the final
Victory for Hayden Groves, who wins the National Chef of the Year title after four years of making the final
Hayden Groves, executive chef at BaxterStorey, has been named the 2013 National Chef of the Year following a tense final at The Restaurant Show. 

The chef beat seven others to win the title in what was his fourth year of making the final, after creating a three course menu in two hours using ingredients from a mystery basket of ingredients that were revealed to contestants in September. 

Runners up were Simon Webb, head chef at CH&Co and Andrew Wright, sous chef at Restaurant 23 who took second and third place respectively. 

Chair of the judges Phil Howard said it had been tough to choose a winner as 'for the most part it was a very level playing field', but in the end picked the contestant who had 'the most consistent and accurately placed three plates of food'.

Groves, whose menu consisted of a starter of soused Cornish mackerel, clams, passion fruit; a main of Rib of eye of beef, pithivier, girolles and roasted Jerusalem artichoke and a dessert of 'blackberry and apple' with caramelised white chocolate, thanked his supportive family and 

"I have a few thanks including my great wing man and my family who have stood by me for the past four years. I'm relieved I don't have to go through this again and go back home to my girls in a bad mood. I couldn't have done it without the support of my family and Peter Lay, we'll be going out for beers later." 

Tough decision

Judges, who include Angela Hartnett, Paul Gayler, Bruce Poole and Gary Jones, spent more than an hour deciding on their winner before the announcement was made at a ceremony at The Restaurant Show at Earls Court 2.

Competition organiser and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy said: "The standard was absolutely top notch this year, which I believe was helped by the mentor day we held prior to the final. “The day gave our eight contenders the chance to view ingredients and meet sponsors, bolstered by an inspirational talk and masterclass from Michelin-starred chefs Philip Howard and Alyn Williams, a previous winner of The National Chef of the Year."

Williams, who handed over the title to Groves after holding it for a year, told BigHospitality winning it had helped him and his business. 

"The NCOTY raised my profile within the industry tremendously. I've been offered work because of it - I do a couple of outside jobs now as abrand ambassador for pieces of equipment and I'm asked to come along and speak at events like The Restaurant Show."

Finalists for the competition, now in its fifth decade, were chosen from 44 of the UK’s top chefs following four semi-final heats held in London and Sheffield.

The eight finalists were​: 

  • Alex Bond, head chef, Turners Restaurant, Birmingham
  • Andrew Wright, sous chef, Restaurant 23, Leamington Spa
  • Russell Bateman, head chef, Colette’s Restaurant, Hertfordshire
  • David Bush, senior chef de partie, House of Commons
  • Hayden Groves, executive chef, BaxterStorey
  • Lahiru Jayasekara, head chef, The Manor, Weston-on-the-Green, Bicester
  • Joe McCafferty, head chef, Bone Daddies Flesh & Buns, London
  • Simon Webb, head chef, CH&Co

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