The Craft Guild of Chefs is now open for entries to its Graduate Awards 2016, with new elements for this year including a Pastry Graduate Award.
Open to chefs aged under 23, the award level examination asks entrants to prepare a paper entry, followed by heats, and then a final examination. The closing date for entries is 6 May.
Created 14 years ago by Steve Munkley, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, and executive head chef at the Royal Garden hotel in London, the examination seeks to improve and recognise skills that chefs have learned at college and in their early careers. It includes a theory paper, butchery and fishmonger tests, as well as creating a dish from mystery basket ingredients, plus a main course and a dessert.
Just 48 chefs have previously achieved the Graduate Award to date, which requires an 85% minimum score to pass.
New for this year is a Pastry Graduate Award, which will also require a paper entry, a short multiple-choice test, a dessert from mystery ingredients, and a new interpretation of a classic dessert dish. The new pastry element has been created to address the apparent shortage in pastry chefs and the lack of opportunities for them to showcase their skills at competition level.
Former National Chef of the Year and head chef at Collette's restaurant at the Grove, Russell Bateman, is now chair of examiners for the contest.
Graduate James Goodyear, now chef de partie at Maaemo in Oslo, who was at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons when he achieved the award, recommended chefs to "100% go for it" as it would improve entrants' confidence and allow them to make good contacts.
Munkley commented: "The guild is constantly looking for ways to entice young people to be part of our industry and showcase the talent that's out there so it's important that we give them opportunities to shine like this. I'm looking forward to the final exam already and unveiling the first ever pastry graduate."
The Craft Guild of Chefs celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, with a series of events and a banquet in August.
For details on how to enter, click here.
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