Chefs will compete in heats at Sheffield College on June 6th or at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London on June 20th.
Organiser of the competition and vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy, said: “From the moment we announced the brief for this year, I’ve seen and received so many comments about what a fantastic opportunity it provided for chefs to show us their skills. Chefs have absolutely risen to the challenge and created what can only be described as stunning menus.
“Every year the competition develops and grows with high profile judges, amazing sponsors, increased marketing activity and new chef names being pushed into the limelight. My advice for all the semi-finalists is to grab this opportunity with both hands because the ten chefs that make the final will purely be based on what comes out of the kitchen next month.”
The National Chef of the Year competition is run in partnership with KNORR, Lockhart Catering Equipment, Nespresso and SousVide Tools. It is supported by British Premium Meats, Cacao Barry, CCS, Churchill, Direct Seafood, Evolve, Mash, OpenTable, UNOX and Ritter Courivaud.
To get to the semi-finals, chefs have already had to impress 13 judges, including the new chair of judges, Gary Jones from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons who will oversee the whole competition. He analysed all menu courses alongside David Mulcahy and Andrew Bennett who were on hand to help whittle the list down. Starters were judged by Alyn Williams, Peter Joyner and Willie Pike, with main courses being scrutinised by Clare Smyth MBE, Philip Howard, Russell Bateman and Steve Scuffell. Marking the mouth-watering desserts this year was Graham Hornigold, Sarah Hartnett and Julie Sharp.
Gary Jones, executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, said: “The paper judging process is rigorous, detailed and thorough. It’s a tough assignment to take on and it’s taken several of the industry’s finest to assess the skills and professionalism of all our entrants.
“The standard of recipes and methods are so important for success. To stand out, chefs must show their knowledge, understanding of flavour combinations, seasonality, provenance, balance, texture and nail the brief to the tee. We are looking for ‘brilliant simplicity’.
“The personal growth in every NCOTY entrant is amazing to witness and it will help propel their careers and raise the bar in our industry. Now the paper side of the competition is complete, let’s see what awaits our judges in the semi-finals.”
In the next round chefs must cook-up their menu in two hours and it has to include a vegetarian based starter, a duck and cherry combination main course and a classic tart as a dessert.
The 41 semi-finalists are:
Allister Barsby, executive chef, Grove of Narberth
Ian Boden, development chef, Flourish Food Solutions
Jack Bradley, head chef, Temple Sowerby House Hotel
Ben Champkin, sous chef, L’Enclume Restaurant
Jamie Coleman, head chef, Saunton Sands Hotel
James Cousins, Jnr sous chef, Restaurant Associates
Robert Cox, head chef, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel
David Davey-Smith, chef, Royal Air Force Worthy Down
Richard Davies, head chef, Epicure/Celtic Manor
Nathan Eades, head chef, Simpsons Restaurant
Glenn Evans, head of food development, Las Iguanas
John Grabecki, head chef, BNY Mellon
Dan Graham, head chef, Talbot Hotel Malton
Liam Grime, Cpl chef, Captain of the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team RAF Odiham
Adam Handling, chef, Adam Handling Limited / The Frog Restaurant
Ollie Hay, head chef, Nomura
Jahdre Hayward, head chef, Haywards Restaurant
Will Holland, head chef, Coast Restaurant
Tom Lawson, chef patron, Rafters Restaurant
Luciano Lucioli, head chef, Lusso – CH&Co
Cormac Mc Creary, sous chef, The Ritz London
Liam McKenna, sous chef, Trump International
Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, 10 feet tall
Karl O`Dell, senior sous chef, Petrus – Gordon Ramsay
Jack O’Donovan, sous chef, Baxter Storey
Andonis Paraskevas, executive head chef, Lusso catering
Scott Perkins, restaurant operations chef trainer, University of West London/ Pillars Restaurant
Matthew Ramsdale, sous chef, The Chester Grosvenor
Luke Selby, head chef, Dabbous
Mathew Shropshall, chef lecturer, UCB – College of Food
Nick Smith, head chef, Harbour & Jones / Ashurst
David Stevens, conference and meeting sous chef, The Balmoral Hotel
Marcin Szelag, head chef, Rocksalt Folkestone
Robert Taylor, chef patron, Compasses Inn
Adam Thomason, head chef, Restaurant Associates- Deloitte
Simon Webb, head chef, Restaurant Associates
Dean Westcar, head chef, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park
Thomas Westerland, sous chef, Lucknam Park
Aled Williams, head of development and innovation, TRUEfoods
Kuba Winkowski, head chef, The Feathered Nest Inn
Andy Wright, head chef, Mercedes F1 Headquarters