Finalists revealed for the 2017 Craft Guild of Chefs' Graduate Awards

By Hannah Thompson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Finalists 2017 Craft Guild of Chefs' Graduate Awards
Fifteen young chef finalists have been named in the 2017 Craft Guild of Chefs' Graduate Awards, including chefs from Petrus, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons. 

The chefs, all aged under 23, took part in heats at the University of West London or Sheffield College on 15 June, for a chance to win a place in the 15th annual final.

Their skills were judged by a panel of 36 chef judges, including chair of judges Russell Bateman, head chef at Colette's at The Grove and former National Chef of the Year.

The Kitchen Award final examination comprises 12 chefs, and three additional pastry chefs will take part in the Pastry Graduate Award final.

The final exam will take place at University College Birmingham on 22 August 2017.

The chefs are:

Kitchen Award
Ioannis Mexis, Elystan Street
Bronwen Jenkins, The Royal Garden Hotel
Jessica Deakin, The Compasses Inn
Joe Payne, Andre Garrett Restaurant Cliveden House
Gilles Varone, Petrus restaurant
Raymond Steplin, House of Commons
Chor Fai Shek, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Vince Vermeulen, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
William Keeble, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Adam Phillips, Colette’s at the Grove
Lewis Kuciers, the Black Bull at Blidworth
Rory Seaman, Wiltons

Pastry Award
Amy Rose Plumb, Titchwell Manor Hotel
Lorenzo Fleurie, Islington County House Hotel
Hannah Catley, Chiltern Firehouse

The successful chefs will be announced at a celebration lunch cooked by former Graduates Richard Edwards, Mark Froydenlund and Selin Kiazim.

“When you look at the list of chefs going through to the final exam, I think we’ve got our strongest one yet," says vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Steve Munkley. "We really threw in a curveball as the chefs were asked to create a dish using Quorn, courtesy of our sponsor. It is an ingredient that very few will use regularly in their own workplaces but it was amazing to see the ideas and dishes they came up with."

He added that the Graduate Awards can act as a strong platform for chefs, will two previous Graduates (Ben Champkin and Luke Selby) currently finalists in this year's senior National Chef of the Year contest.

“We saw some really impressive cooking at the heats," adds Russell Bateman, chair of examiners. "The exam is very focused on chefs’ skills and culinary knowledge and that’s why I am so proud to judge. The list of establishments putting young chefs into this exam is great to see and a testament to how highly regarded the Graduate Awards are in UK kitchens."

He advised all finalists that practising hard over the next two months would be their key to standing out in the final.

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