National Chef of the Year 2018 semi-finalists announced

By Hannah Thompson contact

- Last updated on GMT

National Chef of the Year 2018 semi-finalists announced

Related tags: Head chef, Chef

The 41 semi-finalists for the Craft Guild of Chefs’ National Chef of the Year 2018 competition have been announced.

The chefs, who until now have been judged from paper entries, will now go through to the next stage: one of four heats at Sheffield College on 6 June or London’s Cordon Bleu school on 20 June, competing for just 10 finalist places.

Names selected include Adam Handling (The Frog), Luke Selby (Dabbous, and the 2017 Roux Scholar), Ben Champkin (L'Enclume), Nathan Eades (Simpsons), Thomas Westerland (Lucknam Park), and Marcin Szelag (Rocksalt Folkestone).

There is one female chef among the 41: Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef at the 10 Feet Tall restaurant, Cardiff.

The next level heats will give chefs two hours to create a vegetarian-based starter, a duck and cherry combination main course and a classic tart as a dessert.

The live final will then take place on 3 October at The Restaurant Show at London Olympia.

The top scoring chef in each semi-final heat will automatically gain a place in the live final.

Semi-finalists have already had to impress the high-calibre list of judges, including new chair of judges, Gary Jones from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons.

Competition organiser and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy, and Andrew Bennett also judged.

Starters were judged by Alyn Williams, Peter Joyner and Willie Pike; main courses by Clare Smyth MBE, Philip Howard, Russell Bateman and Steve Scuffell; and desserts by Graham Hornigold, Sarah Hartnett and Julie Sharp.

“The paper judging process is rigorous, detailed and thorough. It's a tough assignment to take on and it's taken several of the industry's finest to assess the skills and professionalism of all our entrants,” says chair Jones. “The standard of recipes and methods are so important for success.”

He added that to stand out, chefs must show their knowledge, understanding of flavour combinations, seasonality, provenance, balance, texture and ‘nail the brief’ with 'brilliant simplicity'.

“[The] chefs have absolutely risen to the challenge and created what can only be described as stunning menus,” adds Mulcahy. “Every year, the competition develops and grows with high profile judges, amazing sponsors, increased marketing activity and new chef names being pushed into the limelight.

“My advice for all the semi-finalists is to grab this opportunity with both hands because the ten chefs that make the final will purely be based on what comes out of the kitchen next month.”

The 2017 National Chef is James Devine from Deanes Eipic. 

The competition is the senior counterpart to the Young National Chef of the Year competition, which is also set to hold its finals at The Restaurant Show. Last year's winner was Ruth Hansom. 


Allister Barsby, executive chef, Grove of Narberth

Ian Boden, development chef, Flourish Food Solutions

Jack Bradley, head chef, Temple Sowerby House Hotel

Ben Champkin, sous chef, L'Enclume Restaurant

Jamie Coleman, head chef, Saunton Sands Hotel

James Cousins , Jnr sous chef, Restaurant Associates

Robert Cox, head chef, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel

David Davey-Smith, chef, Royal Air Force Worthy Down

Richard Davies, head chef, Epicure/Celtic Manor

Nathan Eades, head chef, Simpsons Restaurant

Glenn Evans, head of food development, Las Iguanas

John Grabecki, head chef, BNY Mellon

Dan Graham, head chef, Talbot Hotel Malton

Liam Grime, Cpl chef, Captain of the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team RAF Odiham

Adam Handling, chef, Adam Handling Limited / The Frog Restaurant

Ollie Hay, head chef, Nomura

Jahdre Hayward, head chef, Haywards Restaurant

Will Holland, head chef, Coast Restaurant

Tom Lawson, chef patron, Rafters Restaurant

Luciano Lucioli , head chef, Lusso - CH&Co

Cormac Mc Creary, sous chef, The Ritz London

Liam McKenna, sous chef, Trump International

Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, 10 Feet Tall

Karl O`Dell, senior sous chef, Petrus - Gordon Ramsay

Jack O'Donovan, sous chef, Baxter Storey

Andonis Paraskevas, executive head chef, Lusso catering

Scott Perkins, restaurant operations chef trainer, University of West London/ Pillars Restaurant

Matthew Ramsdale, sous chef, The Chester Grosvenor

Luke Selby, head chef, Dabbous

Mathew Shropshall, chef lecturer, UCB - College of Food

Nick Smith, head chef, Harbour & Jones / Ashurst

David Stevens, conference and meeting sous chef, The Balmoral Hotel

Marcin Szelag, head chef, Rocksalt Folkestone

Robert Taylor, chef patron, Compasses Inn

Adam Thomason, head chef, Restaurant Associates- Deloitte

Simon Webb, head chef, Restaurant Associates

Dean Westcar, head chef, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park

Thomas Westerland, sous chef, Lucknam Park

Aled Williams, head of development and innovation, TRUEfoods

Kuba Winkowski, head chef, The Feathered Nest Inn

Andy Wright, head chef, Mercedes F1 Headquarters



Patrick Frischknecht, senior chef de partie, Petrus Gordon Ramsay

Grzegorz Olejarka, executive chef, The Trafalgar Hotel

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