Hunt Begins for the Next Young National Chef of the Year Winner

The Craft Guild of Chefs has launched its search for the next winner of the Young National Chef of the Year title, announcing the exciting brief for the semi-finals taking place in June.

Once again there will be the opportunity to compete for the prestigious young chef title by special invitation having entered an equally prestigious list of qualifying competitions.

As part of its launch the Guild has declared a new ambassador for this year with former National Chef of the Year winner, Hrishikesh Desai taking over the Chair of Judges role. The Craft Guild of Chefs regularly rotates the position of Chair of Judges for its prestigious competitions, to further strengthen the chef organising team and to add their personal imprint on the competition programme.

The Young National Chef of the Year represents the most talented pool of young chefs in the UK, automatically taking the winners of these four young chef competitions straight to the final at The Restaurant Show:

The British Culinary Federation,
The Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence,
World Skills UK,
The Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards.

Twenty talented young chefs will also battle it out for the final six spots which will come from:

South West Young Chef of the Year
North West Young Chef of the Year
The Junior Chef of Wales
Young North East Chef of the Year
UK Skills runner up
Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards Achievers
Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Chef
Young Scottish Chef of the Year

YNCOTY requires talented and ambitious young chefs to focus on core skills. Chefs may incorporate current trends and techniques into dishes to embellish and enhance them but judges will be looking for a good understanding of basic skills, the foundation of cookery, simplicity, flavour and excellence in the execution of finished dishes.

For this year’s semi-final, chefs must produce a seasonal main course using 1.2 to 1.5 kgs of whole corn fed, free range chicken, a minimum of two appropriate garnishes, out of which one must be a green vegetable, and an appropriate starch preparation. The dish should be accompanied by a suitable sauce. Judges will be paying close attention to butchery skills, wastage, perfect garnishes, correct balance and flavour.

The dessert that chefs must create is a classic ‘lemon tart with a twist’ focusing on creating the perfect pastry, an excellent filling, delicious clean flavours and showing their own personal interpretation of the brief.

Chair of judges, Hrishikesh Desai, executive chef/food and beverage manager at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House said: “I am so proud that the Craft Guild of Chefs has asked me to get involved and is trusting in me to be an ambassador for The Young National Chef of the Year. It is a huge responsibility, but I am ready for the challenge and am looking forward to working with the young chefs who make the semi-finals and final this year. I’ve reached a stage in my career where I can offer advice, support and expertise to young talent and YNCOTY is one of the biggest culinary stages in the world for chefs to showcase what they have to offer. It’s an exciting time as we begin our search for the next winner.”

Overall organiser of the competition programmes, David Mulcahy, has added his support to this year’s organising team and focus for the programme. “I believe that as demand for young chefs to enter and stay within the industry grows, the Craft Guild of Chefs Young National Chef of the Year is more relevant than ever. The future of the hospitality and catering industry lies with the next generation and I am delighted to provide the platform to support the amazing talent of our rising stars and to ensure they receive the reward and recognition that comes from the tremendous effort involved in competing”.

The semi-finals will be held at Sheffield College on Tuesday June 11 and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on June 18 to coincide with The National Chef of the Year semi-finals.