The semi-finalists for this year's Knorr National Chef of the Year competition have been announced.
A panel of judges including Andrew Bennett, executive chef at London's Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, and Gary Hunter, head of culinary arts at Westminster Kingsway College, narrowed this year's entrants down to a list of 40 chefs.
Contestants had to devise a three-course lunch menu for four people including one hot and one cold canapé, a main course created from a regional breed of pork, and their take on a traditional British pudding.
The 40 semi-finalists will now compete in five regional semi-final cook-offs, during which they will create their menus in front of a panel of judges and a live audience.
Now in its 19th year, the biannual competition, which is run by the Craft Guild of Chefs in partnership with Knorr, will culminate in a final cook-off at this year's Restaurant Show at London's Earl's Court on 7 October.
First prize is £10,000, with the winner following in the footsteps of incumbent title holder Eyck Zimmer of the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.
The finalists are:
Russell Benton, Investec (Restaurant Associates), London
Mark Budd, The Stafford Hotel, London
James Hamilton, Hotel Hougue du Pommier, Castel, Guernsey
Martin Nisbet, Great Hallingbury Manor, Bishop's Stortford
Simon Hulstone, The Elephant Restaurant, Torquay
Robert Oberhoffer, The Dove Restaurant, Harleston
David Simms, UBS, London
Paul Wildish, Arora International Hotel, Crawley
Steven Allen, Gordon Ramsay at Claridges
Simon Atkinson, UKLF CSG, (Royal Marines) Plymouth
Nigel Bissett, The Welcome to Town Country Bistro, Swansea
Ian Boden, Limes Restaurant, Derby
Keith Burton, Sodexo, Stevenage
Brian Canale, Heritage Portfolio Ltd, Edinburgh
Martin Clayton, S & A Foods Ltd, Derby
Clark Crawley, Barclays Wealth, London
Ben Ford, British Airways Waterside, West Drayton
Michael Godfrey, Bekynton, Eton College
David Hunt, Sodexo, Scotland and Ireland
Richard Knights, The Lavender House, Norfolk
Royston Maddams, Leander Club, Oxfordshire
Fergus Martin, Wyboston Lakes Ltd, Wyboston
James Rogers, The Dog Inn, Suffolk
Christopher Souto, El Toro Grill, Belfast
Robert Stordy, University of Derby, Buxton
Stephen Thompson, 114 The Arch Restaurant, Leeds
Wayne Thomson, New Hall Hotel, Walmley Village
Trevor Tobin, Chapter Two, London
Andy Twells, Eurest Catering, Feltham
David Waplington, The Bay Hotel, Newquay
Alyn Williams , Petrus, London
Andreas Wingert, Lucknam Park Hotel, Chippenham
Anthony Heath, The Pumphouse Restaurant, Durham
Michael Jameson, Longhirst Hall, Northumberland
David Kennedy, Black Door Restaurant, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Ross Murray, Dunblane Hydro Hotel, Dunblane
Yoram Odentz, Universal Sodexho, Aberdeen
Lee Pattie, Golf View Hotel, Nairn, Scotland
David Ward, Hampden Park, Glasgow
Justin Woods, Castle Green Hotel, Kendal
By Gemma Sharkey
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