Frederick Forster, head chef at Nuovo Restaurant, has been crowned National Chef of the Year 2011 by the Craft Guild of Chefs.
Forster won over the judges after a two-hour cook-off at the final stage of the competition, held at this week's Restaurant Show. His winning dishes included sauté scallops with crab "Beignet" and roasted breast of duck with braised thigh flavoured with smoked bacon.
After semi-finals in Sheffield and London, 40 chefs were reduced to the eight who competed this week.
Legendary figures in the culinary world Bruce Poole, Chris Galvin, Angela Hartnett, Atul Kochhar, Vivek Singh, Andrew Bennett, Gary Hunter, Mark Flanagan, Henry Brosi, and Graham Hornigold, were on hand to judge the dishes cooked up by the finalists.
They decided that Frederick's menu, style and execution of ingredients were superior and judged the Nuovo Restaurant chef the winner.
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: "All our congratulations go to Frederick on his fabulous achievement, in what was a tremendous end to another fantastic National Chef of the Year contest. In fact, the standard of quality on display throughout the entire competition this year has been remarkable.
"The dishes produced by all the final eight were of such a high standard. Choosing a winner was never going to be easy, but all the judges were in agreement that Frederick created a winning menu from the original basket of ingredients. His menu was innovative, well planned and brilliantly executed on the day under enormous pressure.
As well as the National Chef if the Year title, Frederick received a prize fund worth in excess of £12,000 including a study trip to France, courtesy of Lockhart Catering Equipment, plus wine tasting in the Hermitage region and dinner at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
Alyn Williams, chef-patron at Alyn Williams at the Westbury and Hayden Groves, executive chef at Lloyds of London, Avenance, were declared first and second runners-up respectively.
The other finalists were:
Craig Beacham, sous chef, the Elephant Restaurant & Brassiere
David Bush, senior chef de partie, House of Commons
Richard Edwards, head chef, Park Restaurant, Lucknam Park Hotel
Joe McCafferty, senior chef de partie, ROKA Restaurant
Simon Webb, head chef at Restaurant Associates
By James Stagg
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Published by: The Caterer