Search for next National Chef of the Year begins

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Search for next National Chef of the Year begins

Related tags: Chefs, Fine dining, National Chef of the Year

Entries for high profile cooking competition National Chef of the Year are now open.

The annual competition - which has been won by the likes of Luke Selby, Simon Hulstone, David Everitt-Matthias and Gordon Ramsay - is open to UK chefs across all sectors.

The new chair of judges for this year's competition is Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Paul Ainsworth.

Competitors are required to produce a creative menu for two guests in two hours, celebrating the very best of seasonal summer ingredients.

Chefs must make a starter consisting of three different plates per portion, for two guests all using the core ingredient of gilt-head bream.

Ainsworth says he wants chefs to think “San Sebastian, modern style tapas”.

Each dish must use bream in a different format and must make the best use of the fish in some way.

Judges will focus on how competitors have used by-products in the dish and are looking for entrants to showcase a variety of techniques in their starter.

For the main course, chefs must create a lamb dish sourced from the UK and Ireland coastline using both a prime and offal cut.

Judges will be ‘looking for the best use of accompanying summer vegetables, herbs and coastline flavours to enhance the lamb’.

Finally, Ainsworth and his team of judges will be looking for a ‘showstopping’ dessert that focuses on strawberries and cream.

Chefs are encouraged to register for a National Chef of the Year account at​ straight away to read the full brief.

They will then be able to update their paper entry and save it as they add more to it over the coming weeks.

Chefs have until Friday, 3 April, to submit their final entry with a shortlist of 40 chefs for the semi-finals being brevealed on Friday 15 May.

This year’s heats will take place at Sheffield College on Monday 15 June, and at Westminster Kingsway in London on Monday 22 June.

Ten chefs will go through to the National Chef of the Year final, which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, 29th September 2020.

“Winning the National Chef of the Year is an incredible honour and one of my proudest moments,” says last year’s winner Steve Groves​. “For me, it’s the UK’s top chef competition and the chefs associated with this event are the shining lights of our industry.”

“The connections I made throughout and since the competition are invaluable and have been a real boost to my career.”

“When considering the criteria for this year, I wanted to be able to excite and inspire chefs when they saw this brief, and I hope as you are reading it, your mind is already whirring with ideas,” says Ainsworth.

“My advice is to make the best use of your ingredients, focus on flavour and avoid waste by using by-products. Keep it local, fresh and simple.

"Over the next few months I am going to be on the hunt for the best chefs and I’d absolutely love to see more females entering, so please help to make this happen by encouraging all chefs to give it a go.”

The National Chef of the Year competition is run in partnership with Knorr Professional and is supported by Churchill China UK Ltd, Mash Purveyors Ltd, Evolve Hospitality Recruitment Ltd, Santa Maria UK, Valrhona, Bidvest Fresh, HIT Training, Ritter Courivaud, Boiron Freres, OpenTable and Unox.

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