Charles Smith is head chef at Alyn Williams at The Westbury having first worked for Williams almost nine years ago at Petrus.
A love of food and a desire to be a chef led Smith to start in the kitchen of his local restaurant at 14, washing dishes and preparing vegetables.
He took up his first fully-paid role at 16 with Paul Heathcote, but after winning a cooking competition landed himself a job at the Michelin-starred Gilpin Lodge.
"From there I went to work for Marcus Wareing for four years and worked my way up to junior sous chef," he says. "During this time, I won the Craft Guild of Chefs Young National Chef of The Year (YNCOTY) in 2011. Following this exciting win, I moved to New York to work for Thomas Keller at his three Michelin-starred restaurant Per Se. My next role was in London working with James Knappett at Kitchen Table before landing my current role.
"I have always enjoyed competitions and it definitely opens doors in your career. Having won the YNCOTY title, I am determined to get my hands on the other and I’m very happy to be part of this year’s competition."