Young National Chef of the Year: Elephant Restaurant chef crowned 2013 champion

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Young national chef, Culinary art

Young National Chef of the Year Ben Champkin (front-right) beat seven other finalists to win the competition
Young National Chef of the Year Ben Champkin (front-right) beat seven other finalists to win the competition
Ben Champkin from the Elephant Restaurant in Torquay has been named the Young National Chef of the Year for 2013 after a gripping final today (8 October) at The Restaurant Show. 

The chef beat seven other finalists take top spot, with Ruth Hansom (The Ritz) taking second place and Daniel Akrigg (Rogan & Company) in third.

The eight chefs​, ​aged between 18 and 23, battled it out on Day Two of The Restaurant Show, with the winner announced at the end of the day. 

This year's competition, sponsored by Knorr, took a slightly different approach with more young chefs invited to compete rather than all being selected as they have done over the last three years.

Champkin's winning menu:

  • Starter - Fallow deer, burnt onion, pickled apple and beets with roasted grapes
  • Main - Rack of turbot, parsnip, Lardo Iberico, fennel pollen, crisp sweetbreads, golden sultanas,and verjus butter sauce
  • Dessert - Cherry Bakewell, cherry vinegar, yogurt and wood sorrel

Judge Alyn Williams, who won the National Chef of the Year competition last year, told BigHospitality it was Champkin's consistency, innovative recipe choice and all-round professionalism that made him the out-right winner today.

"He put up three consistently strong dishes," said Williams. "To win a competition like this, you need to make sure you don't have a weak spot. Ben gave us three dishes that were very tidy, very clean, flavoursome, properly cooked - three strong dishes which made him really stand out from the rest."

Video: The finalists

In the above video, David Mulcahy, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, the organiser of the competition, explained that the Young National Chef of the Year is the toughest competition of its kind,​ claiming 'we are trying to drive out the best young chefs in the UK'.

Fellow judge Mark Sargeant joined Williams as a judge and ambassador of the competition; to mentor those in it and guide them to be the best they can. He was quick to point out the high level of quality across the board. "Some of them are as good as the older chefs, so they'd better watch out," he said. "The standard has been absolutely fantastic."

The eight finalists:

  • Rory Welch, Broad Chard Pub, Newcastle
  • Danny Hoang, Viajante, London
  • David Alexander Squire, Danesfield House, Marlow
  • Ben Champkin, The Elephant Restaurant, Torquay
  • Louisa May Matthews, Eton College, Sodexo
  • Daniel Akrigg, Rogan & Company
  • Ruth Hansom, The Ritz
  • April Partridge, The Ivy

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1 comment

Well Done Ben

Posted by Caroline,

You are amazing Ben, be very proud of what you have achieved
Your family and friends are rightly very proud of you today too
Look forward to Ben's 15 minute meals!
C, B, H & A xxxx

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