The Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed its finalists for the prestigious Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) competition. The ten chefs, who work in hotels and restaurants across the UK, discovered they had made the top ten when they received a YNCOTY branded jacket from Continental Chef Supplies (CCS), as well as an exclusive gift box from competition partner, Knorr Professional.
To impress the judges and take a finalist spot the chefs had to create a three-course menu which centred around ‘British themed dishes’ with a twist. They will now serve up these dishes in the final which will be screened for the industry to watch on Thursday, 21st October, when the winner will also be revealed.
For the first course, chefs will create a modern vegetarian or vegan version of a classic Scotch broth. Using inspiration from Knorr’s Future 50 ‘Beans and Pulses’ and ‘Cereals and Grains’ categories, judges will be looking for an innovative approach and for chefs to elevate the humble broth to a fine dining experience. The main course will be a take on a classic British Fish and Chips using a prime fillet of haddock or cod from Seafood from Norway. Judges have asked for an interpretation of the classic crumble using seasonal fruits for dessert.
The chefs taking finalists spots are: –
- Matt Nicholls, sous chef, Cheal’s of Henley, Warwickshire
- Daniel Cornish, senior chef de partie, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
- Bethany Disley-Jones, junior sous pastry, The Art School Restaurant
- Stephen Naylor, junior sous chef, Restaurant Story, London
- Joshua Rooney, chef de partie, Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Cornwall
- Keaton Cooper, commis chef, The Angel at Hetton, Skipton
- Robert McCreeryBreen, chef de partie, Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Cornwall
- Sagar Massey, sous chef, Mar Hall Hotel, Gold and Spa Resort, Bishopton
- Ieuan Andrew Davies, chef de partie, Castle Inn, Wiltshire
- Owen Connell, chef de partie, Hillgate Quays, Newcastle
To take the title of Young National Chef of the Year, the chefs will need to impress chair of judges, Hrishikesh Desai, executive chef/food and beverage manager at Gilpin Hotel and Lake House.
Hrishikesh Desai said: “When we put the criteria together entitled ‘British theme with a twist’ we didn’t know what to expect. Having scrutinised all the entries with my fellow judges, we unanimously agreed that the ten finalists who are going to battle for the title had put in huge amounts of effort, thought outside the box and made judging very difficult. We can’t wait to meet them on the mentor day as it’s going to be one hell of a competition this year. I personally think this will go down to the wire because all the finalists are incredibly talented chefs who are working with equally talented mentors.”
Organiser of Young National Chef of the Year and food innovation & sustainability director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, David Mulcahy added: “It’s been another tough year for our industry, but YNCOTY is a true success-story to come out of it. These finalists have all risen to the challenge and created stunning menus that really reflect the theme of British classics with a twist. Every year we celebrate the young talent that’s coming up through the industry and see these stars go on to achieve incredible things, taking their learnings and growth through the competition with them to the next stage of their careers.”
The Young National Chef of the Year is run in partnership with Knorr Professional and is supported by Churchill, HIT Training, Seafood from Norway, Quorn and Le Cordon Bleu. You can follow the competition on social media using #YNCOTY.