Chef Stagiaire Award announces finalists

By Lauren Houghton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cook, Chef

The winner will be decided by Ashley Palmer-Watts at Dinner on 16 June
The winner will be decided by Ashley Palmer-Watts at Dinner on 16 June
The Chef Stagiaire Award has announced 18 year old Craig Johnston and 22 year old Emily Greenough as its two finalists ahead of the last round of the competition at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal on 16 June.

The competition offers chefs under the age of 24 the chance to cook at some of the UK’s Michelin-starred restaurants, and aims to aims to celebrate the technical ability, the attitude and the cooking techniques of some of the younger people in the industry.

Close competition

The competition was reported as being very close, with just a few points separating the finalists from other competitors. Johnston, who comes from Maidenhead, staged with Alan Murchison of Michelin-starred restaurant L’Ortolan in Berkshire. He spent a week at the restaurant and managed to ‘cook beautiful dishes under pressure’.

Johnston said: “I still can't actually believe I'm in the final two, but I know as soon as I get to Dinner it will hit me. The Chef Stagiaire is a great opportunity for young chefs like myself to see and get involved with a higher level of food. I was even offered a job to work at L'Ortolan, so it's also a great opportunity to join a Michelin kitchen.”

Greenough, from London, staged with head chef Tom Duffil of Michelin-starred Arbutus in London, also working at the restaurant for a week. She was offered a job after her staging, with Duffil being impressed by her ‘passion for cooking’.

“The competition has been a great experience,” commented Greenough. “I am thrilled to be going to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, he is one of my idols and the opportunity to work in one of his kitchens is a dream come true.”

The final

The winner will be decided by Ashley Palmer-Watts at Dinner, and will win the opportunity to stage internationally. He or she will win a trip to work at the two Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn kitchen in San Francisco to work with chef Dominique Crenn. In addition, the winner will then visit Oman for two weeks to work with the award-winning team at the Six Senses resort.

Director of Chef Stagiaire Tim Blake said: “This has been a great competition with fantastic feedback from all the restaurants involved. All the young chefs have gained fantastic experience in some of the country’s top kitchens, it’s just down to the final two to prove they have what it takes to go on to win the competition.”

Related topics: Events & Awards, People, Restaurants

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