Some of the country's leading chefs have lent their support to a new awards initiative to inspire and develop young chefs.
The Chef Stagiaire Award, which will launch in January, is looking to place 20 young chefs in some of Britain's finest kitchens for an exclusive opportunity to gain one week's training and mentoring. Among the restaurants taking part in the competition are Brasserie Chavot, Launceston Place, Alyn Williams at the Westbury, the Kitchin, Medlar, Arbutus, Tuddenham Mill and the Royal Oak at Paley Street.
The 20 young chefs lucky enough to win a one week stage will be selected by a panel of chefs comprising Michelin-starred chefs James Mackenzie of the Pipe & Glass Inn in South Dalton, Yorkshire, and Richard Turner of Turners, Birmingham, and Foodservice Catey Chef of the Year Robert Kirby, chef director of Lexington Catering.
To enter, chefs must submit a menu for two covers with a written recipe for an amuse bouche and a British lamb-based main course.
From the initial stages, two finalists will then be chosen to go head-to-head in a final stage in the two-Michelin-starred kitchens of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park with the Fat Duck Group executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts. The young chefs will be put through their paces during a second one week stage.
The ultimate winner, chosen by Palmer-Watts, will receive an all-expenses-paid two-week trip to work with avant-garde chef Dominique Crenn - the first female chef in the USA to earn two Michelin stars - at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco before flying to the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort in Oman for two further weeks of culinary learning while enjoying their opulent surroundings.
Applicants are asked to submit their initial paper entries, including their CV, by 5pm on 28 February. The initial stages are expected to take place in April or May.