Luke Selby wins National Chef of the Year 2018

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Selby (R) with YNCOTY winner Danny Young
Selby (R) with YNCOTY winner Danny Young
Luke Selby, former head chef at Dabbous in London, has been named National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) 2018.

The chef, who took the junior title in 2014, beat 10 other finalists at a live cook-off at The Restaurant Show today (3 October).

Adam Thomason, head chef at Restaurant Associates, came in second place while Simon Webb, head chef of Private Dining at The Langham Hotel, was third.

“NCOTY is a totally different ballgame to the younger competition,” said Selby. “It was really hard today. I didn’t expect to win at all…I’m totally blown away.”

Selby, who also won the 2017 Roux Scholarship, told BigHospitality​ that he and chef Ollie Dabbous were planning a new collaboration following the closure of Dabbous earlier this year.

“We’re looking at opening a new venture together within the next year, so there will be more details to come,” said Selby.

Tough competition

NCOTY is run by the Craft Guild of Chefs and considered one of the UK’s toughest culinary competitions, with previous winners including Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sergeant and Alyn Williams.

This year’s finalists had two hours to cook a three-course meal for judges including Tom Kerridge, Claude Bosi and Gary Jones.

Selby impressed with his starter of sea vegetable minestrone, mussels and farfalle pasta served with a poached scallop, British caviar and a lemongrass scented buttermilk sauce; a main course of roasted fallow deer, blackberry, celeriac, sprouts and bacon  with a venison sauce finished with chocolate; and a dessert of warm walnut almondine, ginger infused bramley purée, caramelised cox apple filled with an apple compote with cinnamon and ginger ice cream.

Part of his prize includes a culinary trip to Mexico and the chance to bring out his own recipe book in collaboration with Knorr.

Chairman of judges Jones, who is also executive chef at Le Manor aux Quat’Saisons, said there was just a few points between the top three finalists.

“This is one of the strongest line-ups we’ve ever seen, the standard has really moved higher,” he said.

“The way Luke is so focused is unique for such a young guy and it is a huge achievement to win both young and senior titles.”

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