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Entries open for 2020 Young Chef Young Waiter competition

14 May 2020 by
Entries open for 2020 Young Chef Young Waiter competition

Entries for the 2020 Young Chef Young Waiter competition open tomorrow, with the aim of "inspiring, testing and challenging" those currently unable to work due to the coronavirus.

The competition is open to chefs and waiters under the age of 26, including those furloughed from their current roles, with entries closing on 15 September.

Established in 1979, the competition was relaunched in 2019 by dining club the Nth Degree Global, in partnership with UKHospitality and the Restaurant Association.

Richard Henderson (below left), from Restaurant Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park, Wiltshire, was crowned 2019 Young Chef, while and Alessandro Calzavacca (below right), of Jean-Georges at the Connaught, London, collected the Young Waiter award at a live final at Quaglino's restaurant in London.

Alessandro Calzavacca and Richard Henderson
Alessandro Calzavacca and Richard Henderson

"We are living in extraordinary times, when all our restaurants are closed and the industry has paused while this crisis unfolds," said Robert Walton, president of the Restaurant Association and founder of the Nth Degree Global.

"So many of our talented young chefs and young waiters are at home right now so this is the time when they now need events and activities to keep them inspired, tested and challenged within the hospitality sector.

Walton said entries and initial judging will be online, with shortlisted finalists either invited to London for a live final on 16 and 17 November or an online final, pending Britain's recovery from the pandemic.

"The results last year were phenomenal and our Young Chef winner, Richard Henderson, was a fantastic character and had a really calm persona in the kitchen," head chef judge Theo Randall said.

"He cooked really well under stress and his final dishes were absolutely flawless. We are all amazed by his personality and think he is going to go a long way in the industry."

Head waiter judge Simon King said: "For me, being the head judge for YCYW is very special, it's a completion of my journey as I was fortunate enough to win the competition in 2000. I still remember how it felt, who I competed with and the what I learnt about myself.

"Our Young Waiter winner from last year, Alessandro Calzavacca, is a credit to the competition. He is clearly very passionate, unbelievably composed and his attention to detail across all our tasks was noted by all our judges."

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