Following one of the closest ever battles for the National Chef of the Year title, a new winner was announced at a prestigious VIP screening of the cook-off at the Everyman Cinema in Broadgate, London.
In one of the toughest years for our industry, over 150 guests watched the hugely anticipated moment when it was revealed that talented chef, Thomas Swaby had wowed the judges with his stunning three-course menu.
Thomas’ starter was roasted maitake chawanmushi, mushroom ketchup, roasted maitake, nasturtiums, pickled enoki and mushroom tea. British suckling pig with Orkney scallop, burnt apple puree, spinach, Chardonnay vinegar mash, apple, shallot and pig sauce was the main course he served up with a dessert of sticky toffee pudding. He was formerly head chef at Inverlochy Castle, Fort William but will shortly be taking up a new and exciting role in the Caribbean for six months.
Finishing very closely behind in second place was Adam Smith, sous chef at Gravetye Manor with Ben Boeynaems, executive chef at The Beaumont Hotel, London completing the top three in what’s regarded as the toughest culinary challenge for senior chefs in the UK.
National Chef of the Year winner, Thomas Swaby said: “Earlier this year, Paul Ainsworth created a thought-provoking brief which tackled many important issues. I was most excited about the Future 50 Foods starter as the pandemic has encouraged us to find new ways of cooking and eating and it’s important we all address the issue of sustainability. National Chef of the Year is the most prestigious cooking competition in the UK and that is reflected in the quality of the judges we cook for so winning this title is an absolute privilege.”
Chair of Judges, Paul Ainsworth commented: “When I set this brief, it was hard to know what kind of dishes we’d be tasting at the final as the criteria was so personal to each chef, all of whom are on their own culinary journey. I left it open to interpretation as I wanted to see how the chefs demonstrated their style of cooking, personality, and creativity. This not only led to some amazing cooking, but these menus will truly go down in history, highlighting the incredible culinary talent we have here in the UK. Choosing the winner went down to the wire but Thomas gave us everything we were looking for; three delicious and stunning plates of food, a real focus on sustainability and loads of passion coming through his dishes.”