The first four finalists in the Craft Guild of Chefs’ competition were the winners of four intensive heats – held at Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London, and at Sheffield College.
The other six were the runners-up, each scoring the highest points in each heat.
The finalists are:
- Ben Champkin, sous chef at L’Enclume (YNCOTY 2013)
- David Davey-Smith, chef at Royal Air Force Worthy Down (pictured, above)
- Karl O’Dell, senior sous chef at Pétrus of Gordon Ramsay Restaurants
- Thomas Westerland, sous chef at Lucknam Park
- Luke Selby, head chef at Dabbous (Roux Scholar 2017)
- Will Holland, head chef at Coast restaurant
- Dean Westcar, head chef at Restaurant Hywel Jones
- Simon Webb, head chef at Restaurant Associates
- Kuba Winkowski, head chef at The Feathered Nest Inn
- Adam Thomason, head chef at Restaurant Associates
The chefs will now compete in the National Chef of the Year final at this year’s Restaurant Show, and will also attend a mentor day on Tuesday 5 September, where they will learn the mystery ingredients basket they will have to cook with in the final.
“Chefs should not underestimate what they have all achieved here today,” says Gary Jones, chair of judges for NCOTY and executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. “This is the very best cooking competition in the UK and to be selected to be part of the semi-final is an honour. The energy, commitment and quality has been impressive from all our competitors and those that have reached the final really are at the top of their game.”
Jones added that this year’s competition had urged the chefs to reduce wastage, and commended those that worked hard to achieve this.
James Devine from Deanes Eipic won last year's contest
“What has been interesting this year is hearing the stories behind the menu creation, ingredient sourcing and inspiration for the dishes,” says David Mulcahy, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition. “The relationship between the chefs and what and why they produced each dish has really stood out for me this year.”
The 2017 winner was James Devine from Deanes Eipic.