Kuba Winkowski wins National Chef of the Year

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kuba Winkowski wins National Chef of the Year

Related tags: National Chef of the Year

Kuba Winkowski, the head chef of The Feathered Nest Inn was crowned The National Chef of the Year at The Restaurant Show last night.

Winkowski served a menu of native lobster, oyster emulsion, celery, sea herbs buttermilk followed by Yorkshire grouse, cabbage, foie gras, quince, celeriac, seeds and sticky toffee, lemon, clotted cream and walnuts for dessert.

His dishes were assessed by 21 of the UK’s best chefs - including Tom Kerridge, Clare Smyth and Claude Bosi - overseen by Gary Jones, executive chef from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

In the runner-up spot was George Blogg, head chef at Gravetye Manor with Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle taking the final podium place.

"As always, it’s been good to see former finalists returning as this shows persistence and tenacity, which is what every talented chef needs,” says Gary Jones. “As chair of judges, I didn’t make it simple by choosing lobster and grouse, both are easy to get wrong on the day, especially under the pressure and in a completely different environment to normal.

"Kuba was frustrated after last year, not because he didn’t win but because he wanted to be better. He’s gone away and thought about what he could achieve with real determination, ambition and competitive spirit. He’s sharper and fitter than he’s ever been so he could be the best chef possible and he absolutely deserved to win today.”

The Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year is open to all chefs over the age of 24. Entrants were first required to devise an innovative menu for four people, which was paper judged by a panel of high profile chefs. 40 chefs then went through to the regional heats, which took place in London and Sheffield.

On the day, competitors were required to produce a three course menu for four covers within two hours using a mystery basket of ingredients. Service could begin after 45 minutes, in course order.

This year, the first course most use live native lobster; the main course must involve whole grouse English grouse; and the dessert must be a modern interpretation of a classic British pudding incorporating seasonal British fruit.

“All ten finalists have done an incredible job, not only today but throughout the competition,” adds David Mulcahy, chef organiser of The National Chef of the Year Award and Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs.

“To get to this stage, you’ve already beaten some of the UK’s best chefs. At each stage of the award, competitors have had the opportunity to connect with other chefs, judges and suppliers and this has helped them grow both personally and professionally.”

Related topics: Events & Awards

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