The announcement follows the high profile cooking competitions regional finals in London and Birmingham, which were finally held early this month having been delayed twice due to the pandemic.
The six finalists are Ryan Baker (Maison Francois, London; Ben Champkin (The Newt, Somerset); Nathan Cornwell (The Barn at Moor Hall, Lancashire); Jonnie Ferguson (The Raby Hunt, County Durham); Curtis Tonge (The Forge, Chester); and Oli Williamson (The Fat Duck, Bray).
The judges in Birmingham were Alain Roux, Sat Bains (Roux Scholar 1999), Simon Hulstone (scholar 2003) and Angela Hartnett while the London judges were Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner, Rachel Humphrey, André Garrett (Roux Scholar 2002) and Clare Smyth.
“We’re happy to be back tasting some fabulous food and to finally see the chefs in action and taste the recipes we’ve sat on for the last 18 months,” says Michel Roux Jr.
"It’s so nice to see everyone back here, doing what we love,” adds Clare Smyth. “It’s such an important competition and our industry has had such a tough time, of course for business owners, but also for young people and those starting out on their careers have missed so much. It’s so good to give them this opportunity to compete again.”
This year’s was to cook the recipe they submitted with their application, which uses one whole fresh gutted hake, weighing anywhere between 1.6kg – 1.8kg and 600g of live whole grooved carpet shell / palourde clams (ruditapes decussatus).
They had to be plated together with two simple or composed garnishes/accompaniments. One of these had to include leeks and the other was a garnish/accompaniment of the applicant’s choice.
The regional finalists had 2.5 hours to cook their dish, along with a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients given to them on the day. Chefs were permitted to make minor adjustments to their recipe on grounds of seasonality, as the ingredients were chosen with the original springtime dates of the competition in mind.
The final - which will see the six chefs given the recipe and ingredients for either a classic or modern dish and given up to three hours to cook it - will take place at Westminster Kingsway college in London on 25 October.