Twelve Chefs Heading To The Finals Of The Graduate Awards 2020

Despite the challenges the pandemic has brought to the hospitality industry, the Graduate Awards 2020 has continued its bid to develop and recognise young culinary talent in the UK. The Craft Guild of Chefs had one of its highest number of entries for this year’s Graduate Awards, despite the lockdown and uncertainty the industry was facing. The kitchen heat recently took place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London with the Pastry heat being completed at Lakefield Hospitality College. Today, the Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed that twelve talented chefs will be completing the final exam later this year.

Over the coming months, the finalists will be given the opportunity to get involved in a virtual mentor experience with advice and support from some of the UK’s leading chefs. This will help them to prepare for the final exam, which is widely regarded as one of the most challenging events for young chefs. To achieve the Graduate Award, chefs must achieve the pass mark of 85% or higher.

The chefs taking part in the Kitchen final exam are:

  • Emma Louise Ryder, demi chef, RAF Club
  • Faye Natalie De Souza, junior sous chef, Restaurant Associates
  • Lorenzo di Stefano, chef de partie, The French House
  • Robert McCreeyBreen, chef de partie, The Royal Household
  • Ben Dullea, apprentice chef
  • Connor Anthony Bird, chef de partie, House of Commons
  • Stephen Mark Naylor, senior chef de partie, Restaurant Story
  • Jonathon Smith, demi chef de partie, Roux at Parliament Square

Making the grade and completing the Pastry final exam are:

  • Katherine Altham, pastry chef, Roundthorn Country House
  • Lillian Savage, demi chef de partie, The Royal Household
  • Ranna Ameer, demi chef de partie, St James Hotel and Club
  • Tiziana Russo, pastry chef, Aviator by Tag

Steve Munkley, Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “It would have been much easier to postpone this award until next year, but we could see that the appetite for this event to go ahead was there. Young chefs were looking for activities to remain focused and engaged during lockdown and the preparation for this exam gave them a real drive to keep going. We sent out the criteria back in June and support was offered to chefs to help them practise these skills. The hard work paid off for the chefs and they must celebrate this achievement. Seeing the semi-finals run so smoothly made all the effort ensuring that these awards could go ahead so worthwhile.”

Russell Bateman, Chair of Examiners for the Kitchen Graduate Award commented: “The semi-finals gave these chefs the opportunity to show us how they had been developing their skills during lockdown. The standard of cooking was high, and we are delighted to have eight talented chefs going forward to the final exam. With hospitality facing its toughest time, to see these young chefs with so much energy and determination to succeed was really inspiring for all the judges.”

You can follow all the Graduate Awards action on social media using the hashtag #CGCGradAwards.