The winner of the Chef Stagiare Award has been announced as Emily Greenough, aged 22.
The former stagiaire at London's Arbutus will now travel to San Francisco and Oman to undertake stages at high-end restaurants Atelier Crenn (with Dominique Crenn), and at luxury resort Six Senses, as part of her prize.
Greenough and fellow finalist Craig Johnston battled it out at a final held on 16 June at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, in London's Mandarin Oriental hotel.
The finalists also spent a week working at the restaurant with head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, who assessed their skills throughout. During her stage, Greenough was highly praised for her technical ability and enthusiasm.
She had also spent time staging with Tom Duffil (at Arbutus in London), while competitor Johnson had worked with Alan Murchison at L'Ortolan in Berkshire.
This year's inaugural competition included 20 chefs from around the country, all under 24 years of age. They were asked to submit a two-cover menu with a written recipe for an amuse bouche and a British lamb-based main course, before the final two were selected for the last round.
The judging panel comprised Michelin-starred chefs James Mackenzie of the Pipe & Glass Inn in South Dalton, Yorkshire; Richard Turner of Turners, Birmingham; and Foodservice Catey Chef of the Year Robert Kirby, chef director of Lexington Catering. The ultimate decision was made by Palmer-Watts.
Palmer-Watts explained that the competition had been very close: "It was very hard to choose the winner, but Emily just had the edge over Craig."
Tim Blake, director of the Chef Stagiaire Award, said: "Both competitors should feel very proud of what they have achieved. The level of talent throughout the competition has been extremely high and Emily has shown she has the ability to succeed at the highest level."
Commenting on her win, Greenough thanked her supporters, and said: "I'm still waiting for it to sink in. To have Ashley Palmer-Watts choose me as the winner is an honour. When I first entered, I didn't know what to expect, but it's the best decision I've ever made."
Duffil commended Greenough for her "bags of energy and real passion for cooking", and has also offered her a job to take up after she has finished her staging.