Chefs aged 25 and under on 1 April 2017 are asked to submit their paper applications for a two-cover menu, including a main course using duck. The deadline for the method, photos, and other requirements, is 5pm, Friday 31 March 2017. Ten semi-finalists will then go through to the week-long ‘stages’.
The top prize for the ultimate winner will be an all-expenses paid trip with chef Nicolas Masse at the two-Michelin-starred Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux, plus a further four weeks’ experience in the kitchens (alongside luxury accommodation) at high-end hotel the Six Senses Zil Payson in the Seychelles.
The competition began in 2014, with the first ever winner Emily Greenough recently securing a job at the Eleven Madison Park restaurant in New York (named number three in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants), after 18 months at a Michelin-starred site in France.
One submitted, the initial paper entries will be whittled down to ten semi-finalists for a week-long stage at a different restaurant each.
The ultimate two finalists will go through to compete in the week-long final at Restaurant Sat Bains, with head chef John Freeman helping to judge on technique, attitude and ability, with the winner going ahead to take the international prizes.
The contest’s other judges are James Mackenzie of the Michelin-starred Pipe & Glass in Yorkshire; Simon Haigh, food and beverage director at the starred Eden Hotel Collection; and Kenny Atkinson of the starred House of Tides in Newcastle.
The semi-finals will be held across some of the most prestigious Michelin-starred establishments in the UK today, including London sites Alyn Williams at the Westbury (with chef Alyn Williams); Fera (Simon Rogan/Daniel Cox ); Pétrus (Larry Jayasekara); and Outlaw’s at the Capital (Nathan Outlaw/Tom Brown).
Completing the list are Simpsons Restaurant in Birmingham (with chef Luke Tipping); Casamia in Bristol (Peter Sanchez-Iglesias); Restaurant Fraiche in the Wirrall (Marc Wilkinson), Fischer's Baslow Hall in Derbyshire (Rupert Rowley); John’s House in Leicestershire (John Duffin); and Hampton Manor in Solihull (Rob Palmer).
Exposure to new techniques
Named for the French word for unpaid internship, a “stagiaire” is the traditional name given to an unpaid young chef who works briefly in another chef’s kitchen in return for mentoring, networking, and exposure to new techniques and cuisines.
The contest first began in 2014, with Louise Roberts following Greenough’s lead to take home the title in 2015.
Roberts – whose final week was at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London ‒ won two weeks at Joel Robuchon’s three Michelin-starred restaurant in Las Vegas, and two further weeks at the Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman.
2014 winner Greenough also worked at Dinner, before going on to the two-starred Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, and two more weeks at the Oman resort.
More details on rules for entry to the 2017 contest are available to view on the competition’s own website.