The Craft Guild of Chefs is calling for chefs to enter the 2017 National Chef of the Year, as the prestigious contest enters its 44th year.
Paper applications will be accepted until 8 April, with chefs requested to produce a creative lunch menu for four guests that could be cooked within two hours, including a risotto starter of the competitor's choosing, a main course using a whole chicken with appropriate accompaniments, and a choux pastry dessert.
To enter, chefs must be aged 24 and over as of 1 April 2016, and may be working in any area of hospitality in the UK or overseas, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors.
A shortlist will be revealed on 24 May and will be followed by regional heats when the 10 finalists will be selected. This year the heats will take place at Sheffield College on 14 June and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on 22 June.
The 10 finalists will then battle it out at the Restaurant Show on 4 October. The winner will receive a wide range of prizes including a culinary trip to one of the world's leading restaurants, stagiaire opportunities, equipment from sponsors and chocolate workshops.
The 2016 National Chef of the Year, Larry Jayasekara, sous chef at Gordon Ramsay Group-owned restaurant Petrus, wished all the entrants good luck this year, and commented: "[Winning] is something I've always wanted and a dream I was never going to give up on. Simply having the opportunity for your food to be sampled by some of the UK's most well-respected judges is incredible."
David Mulcahy (pictured), vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition, said: "I always feel a sense of excitement on launch day as the brief for this year's competition is unveiled and the buzz about the competition begins once again. Whether you have entered this competition before or are considering putting your skills to the ultimate challenge for the first time, I'd recommend entering. You just never know how far it could take you."
Other previous winners include Gordon Ramsay, Russell Bateman, Hayden Groves, Mark Sargeant and Alyn Williams. The contest is also the older sibling of the Young National Chef of the Year competition, open to chefs aged under 24.
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