The Craft Guild of Chefs is appealing to employers to put young chefs in the spotlight in its call for entries to the 17th annual Graduate Awards.
The competition is open to chefs aged 23 and under in full-time employment who have completed their basic chef qualifications and are wanting to develop their skills further, until 26 April 2019.
Chefs can choose between a kitchen and pastry award. Both will see chefs undertake a series of practical culinary challenges, while also completing a formal paper examination.
They must achieve 85% or over to pass, impressing judges including chair of examiners Russell Bateman and the pastry examiner Will Torrent.
Finalists in both the kitchen and pastry award will go on a two-day mentoring experience, which returns to the competition following its debut in 2018. Set in and around the Cotswolds, the mentoring event will see the finalists visiting local suppliers, learning skills from industry leaders and networking with chefs from other areas of the industry.
Commenting on the return of the mentoring event, which debuted last year, Steve Munkley, founder of the Graduate Awards and vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “This offered chefs opportunities they may not otherwise be exposed to in their day jobs and regardless of whether they achieved the pass-mark, they learned so much from being part of it.
“It was a huge success and plans are well underway for this year’s event. I’d encourage all head of kitchens to talk to their young chefs about entering as each year we see chefs grow at every stage and it really can push them, and your restaurant, into the limelight.”
The Craft Guild of Chefs has seen 69 chefs pass the Graduate Awards since they were launched in 2002, with former achievers going on to win Young National Chef of the Year, The Roux Scholarship and The National Chef of the Year.
Torrent, who heads up the pastry award, added: “This will be the fourth year we have run this Pastry Graduate Award and the interest and number of entries is growing year on year. I love how we are making real steps at getting pastry chefs on the map.”