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Semi-Finalists Unveiled for Young National Chef of the Year Competition

Over the next few weeks, some of the rising stars of the culinary world will be putting their creative skills to the test as they design innovative menus in a bid to become Young National Chef of the Year. Today, the Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed the names of the chefs in the running as well as a thought-provoking criteria for entries.

Competitors will be allowed two hours to create a three-course meal. To give the judges a first taste of their cooking, chefs will serve up a filled vegetarian agnolotti pasta dish suitably garnished. They are asked to use an ingredient which has been foraged or sourced locally within this starter. For the main course, the chefs need to create a dish using fresh Norwegian halibut served with a Douceur de France butter-based sauce which is suitable for a pescatarian guest.

To finish the menu, candidates are required to create their own interpretation of a filled choux dessert.

Entries from the invited young chefs will be reviewed by the judging team to determine ten candidates to join two seeded finalists – Nathan Cooper who was the Highest Achiever from the Graduate Awards and the winner of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards for Excellence.

Chair of judges, Russell Bateman who is head chef at the Falcon Hotel in Castle Ashby said: “This is my first year heading up the competition and when setting the brief, I wanted to take the young chefs back to basics so we can really assess their skills and creativity. They will need to think about ingredient choices, seasonality, flavours, balance, and showcasing strong techniques. This is their opportunity to show the judges who they are as a chef when they step away from their workplace and we can’t wait to see their individual culinary style, personality and talent laid out on the plate.”

Competition director and food innovation & sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, David Mulcahy added: “Young National Chef of the Year continues to grow from strength to strength with this year’s list of invited competitors proving that the culinary talent pool across the UK is in great shape. Under Russell’s guidance we are guaranteed an incredible final and I wish all chefs the very best of luck.”

All twelve finalists will be invited to cook their menus at the live cook-off which will be held on Tuesday 8th October at the University of West London. This year’s winner will be unveiled at a VIP Awards evening at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square.