In a change to the format as result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the semi-final stage of the competition isn't taking place in the usual way. Instead, 40 chefs have been selected to create a dish that sums them up in just a few bites.
They will then create a short video showcasing that dish and answer four supplementary questions. Judges will then whittle the chefs down to a final 10, who will cook up their original menu in the final.
The chefs invited to compete in the next stage are:
- Mark Austin, executive chef, Northwood HQ, Aramark
- Andy Bowler, sous chef, Petrus
- Fraser Bruce, head chef, Fraser Bruce @ The Fish Shed
- Nathan Cornwell, head chef, The Barn at Moor Hall
- Paul Croasdale , head chef, Stargazzy Inn
- David Davey-Smith, SNCO Chef, Royal Air Force
- Tristan Downes, head chef, Craft London
- Ben Drake, senior sous chef, The Elephant by Simon Hulstone
- Nico Fitzgerald , head chef, London Stock
- Alex Greene, sous chef, Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa
- Daniel Griffiths, sous chef, Portmeirion Hotel
- Elliot Hill, head chef, Panoramic 34
- Asen Ibrov, head chef, Silver Spoon
- Matthew John, chef patron, The Waggon Inn
- Derek Johnstone, head chef, Borthwick Castle
- Daniel Jones, head chef, JT3
- Martin Lee, head chef, Hartwell House Hotel
- Rob Marshall, freelance chef
- Caroline Martins, chef patron, Sao Paulo Group Ltd
- David Millar, head chef, CH&CO
- Graham Mitchell, head chef, The Newmachar Hotel
- Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, Finnish Embassy, London
- Saurav Nath, development chef, JKS Restaurants
- Christopher Niven, executive chef
- Andonis Paraskevas, chef/consultant
- April Lily Partridge, chef, The Ledbury
- Elisabeth Passedat, head chef, The Cleveland Arms
- Marcin Pomierny, head chef, The Maids Head Hotel Limited
- Matt Ramsdale, head chef, The Chester Grosvenor
- Stefan Sewell, team captain, Combined Service Culinary Arts Team
- Christos Siomadis, executive chef, Roseate House Hotel London
- Nick Smith, head chef, Vacherin / Ashurst
- Dominic South, head chef, Corinthia Hotel
- Lewis Spencer, sous chef, Davies and Brook
- Thomas Swaby, senior sous chef, Roux at Parliament Square
- Nat Tallents, executive chef, Fosters @ The Box Plymouth
- Simon Webb, freelance chef
- Fergus Wilford, sous chef, Corinthia Hotel
- Danny Young, senior sous chef, Northcote
- Tim Zekki, chef proprietor, Duende
Ten finalists will then be selected to compete in a cook-off at Le Cordon Bleu on 7 September. This will be filmed and played out as part of the new Hospitality Week with the winner being revealed live on 30 September.
"This year’s winner will have turned adversity into positivity and when asked what they did during the Coronavirus crisis will be able to say they won the National Chef of the Year title," says vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser David Mulcahy.
“This is my first year judging the first stage of NCOTY and many chefs were on the money in hitting the brief they were set," says chair of judges Paul Ainsworth.
"Seeing the huge variety of ways the entrants put their own interpretation on this task was inspiring and there are going to be some amazing dishes served up to us in September. I am already looking forward to watching the videos in the next round and seeing how chefs sum themselves up in just a few tasty bites."