The Craft Guild of Chefs has opened its entries for the 2021 Graduate Awards, which this year will feature an online mentoring programme.
Chefs aged 25 and under are encouraged to take part in the educational award to hone their skills as hospitality prepares to reopen.
Applicants have until 30 April to complete a short online entry form and can choose between a kitchen and pastry award. Entrants will undertake practical culinary challenges and a paper exam, which will be judged by chefs Russell Bateman, Will Torrent and a panel of industry experts.
The Graduate Awards was one of the few face-to-face cooking competitions that took place in 2020, with five young chefs receiving the award after a socially distanced final exam at the University of West London in December.
This year an online mentoring portal will see chefs and suppliers share skill videos, while finalists will have access to individual support via WhatsApp to help them achieve the pass mark of 85%.
Over 80 chefs have achieved the award over the past 17 years.
"The focus for this year is looking at the key industry trends and bringing these into the event," said Steve Munkley, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs.
"For example, we'll be exploring food wastage, sustainability and some plant-based options, as we know these are all hot topics in kitchens across the UK. It's important that initiatives like the Graduate Awards tackle these issues and give chefs the opportunity to practise skills as we face several more months of uncertainty.
"The pandemic has also had an impact on mental health and the Graduate Awards give chefs something to work towards and set their minds to. All the skills they work on will help them when they are back in their kitchens, where they belong."
To enter chefs should complete the entry form by clicking here.