Chefs have until 8 April to submit their entry for paper judging via the National Chef of the Year website, before a shortlist of 40 chefs for the semi-finals is revealed on 24 May, with winners from there going on to compete in the final at the Restaurant Show on 4 October.
Over the last 44 years a line of prestigious chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Alyn Williams and Mark Sargeant have won the competition, putting them on the map and helping them on their way to achieving Michelin stars.
For the first stage of the contest, chefs are required to produce a creative lunch menu for four guests that could be cooked within two hours. It must consist of a risotto starter of the competitor’s choice, a main course using a whole chicken, and a choux pastry dessert of choice.
The winner will receive a range of prizes including a culinary trip to one of the world’s top restaurants, stagiaire opportunities, equipment from sponsors and chocolate workshops, as well as a place in the National Chef of the Year Hall of Fame.
David Mulcahy, Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the National Chef of the Year competition, said: “I always feel a sense of excitement on launch day as the brief for this year’s competition is unveiled and the buzz about the competition begins once again. Whether you have entered this competition before or are considering putting your skills to the ultimate challenge for the first time, I’d recommend entering. You just never know how far it could take you.
“This competition is not based on a chef’s personality or past triumphs but simply on culinary skills, interpretation of the ingredients and what chefs can create when the heat is really on.”
Clare Smyth MBE, Chair of Judges, described winning the competition as ‘career changing’.
“I want to encourage chefs from across all sectors to take part as it’s a fantastic platform to get your name out there. I am proud to be involved in the most respected culinary competition in the UK,” she said.
“We’ve created a really interesting brief for this year and I’m looking forward to seeing the menus that come in over the next few months.”
Last year’s winner, Larry Jayasekara, sous chef at Gordon Ramsay Holdings, said: “It’s something I’ve always wanted and a dream I was never going to give up on. Simply having the opportunity for your food to be sampled by some of the UK’s most well-respected judges is incredible.”
“However, nothing can beat that moment when you are standing in a line with some of the most talented and up and coming chefs in the UK and it’s you that is declared as the winner. Good luck to all the chefs entering this year, whatever stage you get to you won’t regret being part of this experience.”
The competition is open to chefs from all areas of hospitality who are over the age of 24.