The Craft Guild of Chefs has launched the entry process for this year’s Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) award.
Under the auspices of the new ambassador for the competition – former National Chef of the Year Hrishikesh Desai – competitors will be chosen from a selection of competitions across the country. Winners of the British Culinary Federation young chef competition, the Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence, World Skills UK and the Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards will be automatically fast-tracked into the final.
For the semi-finals – which will decide who will fill the last six finalist spots – 20 competitors will be picked out from a range of events. These include the South West Young Chef of the Year; North West Young Chef of the Year; Junior Chef of Wales; Young North East Chef of the Year; UK Skills runner up; Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards Achievers; Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Chef and Young Scottish Chef of the Year. Wild card competitors may also be added by the judges for stand out talent.
The semi-finalists will have to produce a seasonal main course using 1.2kg to 1.5kg of whole, corn-fed, free-range chicken; a minimum of two appropriate garnishes, one of which must be a green vegetable; and an appropriate starch preparation. The dish should be accompanied by a suitable sauce.
Judges will pay close attention to butchery skills, wastage, perfect garnishes, correct balance and flavour. The semi-finals will be held at Sheffield College on Tuesday 11 June and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on 18 June.
Desai, executive chef/food and beverage manager at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Windermere, Cumbria, said: “I am so proud that the Craft Guild of Chefs has asked me to get involved and is trusting in me to be an ambassador for the Young National Chef of the Year.
“It is a huge responsibility, but I am ready for the challenge and am looking forward to working with the young chefs who make the semi-finals and final this year.
“I’ve reached a stage in my career where I can offer advice, support and expertise to young talent and YNCOTY is one of the biggest culinary stages in the world for chefs to showcase what they have to offer. It’s an exciting time as we begin our search for the next winner.”
Henry Wadsworth of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, who won the title in 2018, added: “Winning Young National Chef of the Year came after a lot of determination, hard work and practice but it was worth it.
“Hearing your name called out as the winner is a moment you won’t forget and since that day it’s given me so many exciting opportunities and experiences. It’s a competition I would recommend every ambitious young chef tries to get involved with, as whatever stage you get to, you will learn from the opportunity.”