The Craft Guild of Chefs revealed the names of five young chefs who achieved a score of 85% or higher in the final examination of its annual Graduate Awards at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Landmark London Hotel in Marylebone on Friday, September 5.
James Newton from the Royal Garden Hotel took the top spot with a score of 87.5% closely followed by Connor Godfrey from Wiltons Restaurant.
Joining them on the roll of honour is Ruth Hansom from The Ritz in London, Wayne Herrington from the Landmark London Hotel, and Victoria Scupham from The Royal Household. As highest achiever, Newton receives a four-day break courtesy of Warner Hotels (Bourne Leisure Group).
The announcement follows the final held at University College Birmingham on Thursday, August 28, where 10 chefs took part in a range of skill tests.
The examinations, created by Craft Guild vice president Steve Munkley 12 years ago, aim to take the learning that chefs under the age of 23 achieved at college and in the workplace to the next level.
Finalists completed a theory paper followed by butchery and fishmongery tests before creating a dish using a range of ingredients from a mystery basket. While in the kitchen, chefs also had to prepare a classic main course and dessert to impress the panel of expert judges.
Munkley commented: “This was the calmest final we’ve ever had and I am certain this was down to the mentor day which took place in July. Chefs had the opportunity to meet each other in advance and find out what was expected of them.
“The mentor day really puts chefs at ease so there was a fantastic atmosphere in the kitchen, chefs were quiet and focused on the tasks in hand.
“What makes this competition special is that all of the finalists are able to pass the examination so they all support each other throughout the process and want each other to do well. Some of the chefs put many hours of practice in between the mentor day and final and their hard work and dedication has paid off.”
Chairman of judges, Paul Gayler, added: “All in all it was a great day’s work for these talented chefs who worked professionally and tidily. It was interesting to see some of the old classics that the judges first cooked at college being brought back for these young chefs to prepare.
“However, I think these dishes did create some challenges so it made an interesting and exciting final. Congratulations to the five chefs who made the grade this year and I hope to see those who didn’t, enter again in 2015.”
At the awards ceremony, Ian Spencer, who works at Buckingham Palace was presented with the Employer’s Award for Excellence in Training for his work mentoring finalist Victoria Scupham from The Royal Household.
The 2014 Graduate Awards are sponsored by: AAK, CCS, City & Guilds, Essential Cuisine, Gram, James Knight of Mayfair, Landmark London Hotel, Mars Foodservice (Uncle Ben’s), Meiko, MKN, Reynolds Catering Supplies, Robert Welch, Savoy Educational Trust, The London Meat Company, Villeroy & Boch and Warner Leisure.
The 2014 Graduate Awards finalists were:
Reece Cosier, Landmark London Hotel
Wayne Herrington, Landmark London Hotel
Connor Godfrey, Wiltons Restaurant
Ruth Hansom, The Ritz
John Grabecki, Galvin@Windows
Victoria Scupham, Royal Household
Joe Bose, House of Commons
Ross McMillan, Stirling Management Centre
Oliver Snowden, General Tarleton
James Newton, Royal Garden Hotel
For more information about the Graduate Awards visit www.craftguildofchefs.org or tweet @Craft_Guild. You can read all the tweets from the event by following #CGCGradAwards.