National Chef of the Year 2021 finalists announced

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

National Chef of the Year 2021 finalists announced

Related tags: National Chef of the Year, Chef, Competition, Craft guild of chefs

The Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed the 10 chefs who have been selected to go forward the final stage of the 2021 National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) competition.

With the semi-final cook-offs unable to take place this year as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, the finalists were selected by taking into consideration the marks from both the entry stage and the dishes which summed them up in just two to three bites.

Unlike the earlier stages of this year's competition, which were modified due to the pandemic, the final will go forward as planned and see the contestants cook off against each other at Le Cordon Bleu's London base on 7 September.

However, the format has been reinvented, and will be streamed in an hour-long show during Hospitality Week, which will 'offer insights into how chefs have navigated this challenging year'.

The winner will be announced on 30 September. 

To take the title, chefs will have to impress judges Paul Ainsworth, chef patron at Paul Ainsworth Collection; Clare Smyth MBE, chef patron at Core by Clare Smyth; Niall Keating, executive chef at Whatley Manor; and Claude Bosi from Bibendum Restaurant in Chelsea.

“There is no doubt that finding a way to make sure the National Chef of the Year competition could still go ahead has been challenging," says organiser David Mulcahy.

"But we have always remained determined to ensure the competition’s heritage could be maintained and that the industry had a positive success story to come out of this.

"Chefs have faced some real battles along the way, even to put an entry in, but we have seen huge resilience, determination and passion from these chefs to turn adversity into positivity.

"Whilst we have had to tweak how the final is run, many things remain the same.

"We have ten brilliant chefs cooking for the best judges in the industry and what a special winner they are going to find. I really hope that on the 30 September, chefs in kitchens across the UK tune in to support the competitors and watch the final and the live announcement.

"There has never been a more important time for the industry to come together in this way and show everyone how much talent our culinary scene has to offer.”

The 10 finalists are:

· Derek Johnstone, head chef, Borthwick Castle, East Lothian

· Fraser Bruce, head chef, Fraser Bruce @ The Fish Shed, St Ives

· Nathan Cornwell, head chef, The Barn at Moor Hall, Ormskirk

· Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, Finnish Embassy, London

· Marcin Pomierny, head chef, The Maids Head Hotel Limited, Norwich

· April Lily Partridge, chef, The Ledbury, London

· Nick Smith, head chef, Vacherin / Ashurst, London

· Dominic South, head chef, Corinthia Hotel, London

· Ben Drake, senior sous chef, The Elephant by Simon Hulstone, Torquay

· Thomas Swaby, senior sous chef, Roux At Parliament Square, London

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