The focus of this year’s competition will be summer, with competitors required to produce a creative summer lunch menu for two guests, cooked in two hours.
The menu must consist of a ‘perfect egg dish’ starter of the competitor’s choice served hot and a beef main course to include two cuts and two cooking methods. The beef must be sourced from the UK and competitors should indicate the breed of beef, farm sourced from and maturation period.
For the dessert, chefs must create a delicious chocolate tart incorporating or garnished with seasonal fruits. Chefs will need to focus on creating the perfect pastry, filling, texture and overall execution of dessert.
The chosen menu must be suitable for a spring/summer menu and be perfectly balanced, according to the organisers.
The brief was created by Gary Jones, executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, who will be the competition’s chair of judges for a third year.
“Nothing represents nature more than the purity of an egg, it’s also incredibly versatile, as well as an economical ingredient, so practise and development won’t cost the earth,” says Jones.
“In terms of the beef task, previously everything has been cooked at speed on the day. This is a good test, but panic can set in and the final execution can be compromised. I believe we should give chefs the opportunity to prepare one element in their own environments. It will allow more care and attention to detail and the result on the plate will be more precise.”
The National Chef of the Year is open to chefs who are 24 years or older as of 1 February 1, 2019. Competitors may come from all areas of the hospitality business in the UK or overseas including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors.
Chefs have until Friday 22 March to submit their entry and a shortlist of 40 chefs for the semi-finals will be revealed on 17 May. This year’s heats will take place at Sheffield College on 11 June, and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on 18 June. Ten chefs will go through to the National Chef of the Year final, which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday 1 October 2019.