Taking part in competitions can bring a wide range of benefits, but you would be better off targeting carefully chosen events, as spreading your efforts too thinly is a recipe for disaster. James Stagg reports
Entering chef competitions can broaden your culinary horizons and provides a chance to test yourself against your peers. But to be in with a chance of winning the top prizes, you must be on top of your game in every way.
As well as gaining valuable feedback on your dishes, awards provide the opportunity to network and meet top industry names. Phil Howard, chef-patron of Elystan Street in London and former chair of judges for the National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) says: "National Chef of the Year requires truly talented chefs to enter, to do it justice. For those who do, the rewards are immense, with chefs being pushed into the spotlight. Not only does it develop cooking skills, but chefs are forced to deal with a different type of pressure, which includes speaking to the media and networking with chefs of the highest level. It opens new doors and opportunities."
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