NCOTY 2017: deadline for entries extended

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

NCOTY 2017: deadline for entries extended

Related tags: National chef, Le cordon bleu

The Craft Guild of Chefs has extended the entry deadline for the 2017 National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) competition to Friday 15 April. 

To coincide with the extension, the organisation has come up with seven tips for chefs thinking of entering to give them the best chance of success. 

David Mulcahy, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of NCOTY said: "We know what a challenge preparing the perfect entry can be, so along with the decision to extend the deadline we’re also releasing some valuable advice.  The guidance comes straight from the National Chef of the Year Hall of Fame, with advice from several successful chefs including Alyn Williams, Mark Sargeant and the current title-holder Larry Jayasekara.

"We’ve distilled the expertise of these industry leaders into a series of succinct top tips on what it takes to win, starting with advice on a winning entry form.  We’d advise anyone who has yet to enter to refer to the tips and really try to apply them to their own entry in order to give themselves the best possible chance of success.”

Chefs still wanting to enter this year's competition can do so online at​. A shortlist of 40 chefs for the semi-finals will be revealed on 24th May following the paper judging. This year’s heats will take place at Sheffield College on Tuesday, 14 June and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Wednesday, 22 June with 10 chefs chosen to go through to the NCOTY final at the Restaurant Show on Tuesday 4 October.  

Seven tips for chefs entering NCOTY 2017: 

  1. Read and read again:  ​“It sounds simple but it really is so important that chefs read the brief and entry guidelines over and over again to ensure nothing has been missed.” – David Mulcahy, Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the National Chef of the Year. 
  2. Prioritise your presentation: ​“Take pride in your entry as it is an extension of you as a chef.  It goes without saying it should be neatly formatted and the attached photos should be in focus, correct orientation and free from scattered and smeared mise en place in shot.” – Hayden Groves, Judge and 2013 National Chef of the Year 
  3. Showcase but don’t show off: ​“Keep it simple. Use the entry form to showcase your skills, knowledge and taste but avoid the temptation to show off.” – Mark Sargeant, Former National Chef of the Year and ambassador for Young National Chef of the Year
  4. Write it for a plumber not a chef: ​“Make sure your paper entry is clean to read, well presented and makes sense. Don’t write a recipe as though another chef is reading it, write it as if a plumber is reading it and can follow it from start to finish.” - Simon Hulstone, National Chef of the Year 2008
  5. A good title gets attention: ​“A good title for your dish will stand out and get you noticed right away. It needs to be something straightforward that gives judges an idea of the techniques and flavours they can expect from your dish.” Alyn Williams, Judge and National Chef of the Year 2012
  6. Consistency is key: ​“Be consistent throughout the competition.  All the dishes you create have to be ten out of ten if you want to win.  Keep that in mind from the beginning when you’re at the entry form stage.” – Larry Jayasekara, Current 2016 National Chef of the Year
  7. Put all your effort in: ​“Even if you are fantastic in the kitchen, it’s what’s on the entry form that will get you through to the next stage. You’ve got to put all your effort in, just as you would with cooking.  We know chefs are busy people with limited time but this is a very difficult stage and dedication is required to complete the form to a high standard.” - Clare Smyth MBE, Chairman of Judges and Chef Patron at three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

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