The awards, which launched in 1987, are organised by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and only presented once every four years.
Though hundreds of restaurant professionals have entered only a handful have made the grade. Previous winners include chefs Jeff Galvin and Andre Garrett, restaurant manager Diego Masciaga, and pastry chef Benoit Blin.
To receive the title of Master of Culinary Arts (MCA) competitors must complete a gruelling and classical advanced skills test, as well as demonstrating leadership skills and the ability to support the development of others.
Bennett will join chefs from University College Birmingham (UCB), The Ritz, Coworth Park and Restaurant Associates in the final at UCB on 23 September. There will also be separate finals for pastry chefs at The Taste Lab on 16 July and front-of-house professionals at Le Gavroche on 30 September.
The winners will be announced at a Gala Presentation Dinner on 5 October at Claridge’s in London.
The 2017 Finalists are as follows:
Adam Bennett, chef director, The Cross at Kenilworth
Chris Hill, premier sous chef, The Ritz Hotel
Adam Smith, executive chef, Coworth Park
Adam Thomason, head chef, Deloitte, Restaurant Associates
Anthony Wright, senior chef lecturer, University College Birmingham
Alistair Birt, head pastry chef, Harrods
Nicolas Bouhelier, head pastry chef, Lainston House Hotel
Nicholas Patterson, teaching chef, Le Cordon Bleu
Julie Sharp, pastry chef technical adviser, Barry Callebaut UK
Ross Sneddon, executive pastry chef, The Balmoral Hotel
Restaurant management and service
Lukas Andr, restaurant manager, Sexy Fish, Caprice Holdings
Alessandro Fasoli, general manager, The Woodspeen Restaurant and Cookery School
Giovanni Ferlito, head of wine and beverage, The Ritz London
Devid Isabella, restaurant manager, Wentworth Golf Club
Karim Le Cloarec, general manager, Searcys at The Gherkin
Pierre Rizet-Mosser, food & beverage manager, The Montagu Arms Hotel