The National Chef of the Year 2012 competition is now open for entries as the Craft Guild of Chefs sets about its search for a successor to 2011 winner Frederick Forster.
The prestigious competition, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, is one of the most sought after culinary titles for chefs in the UK and the final is set to take place at the Restaurant Show on 9 October.
Past winners whose careers have been boosted by the competition include Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sargeant, Kevin Viner and Simon Hulstone.
Open to all chefs who work in any sector of the catering industry, the National Chef of the Year celebrates the multicultural nature of the UK. The format is divided into categories: Asian/Oriental; Modern British/European; and Rest of the World/other.
Frederick Forster, head chef at Nuovo restaurant and 2011 winner, said: "To win The National Chef of the Year was beyond my wildest dreams and such an immense feeling.
"I was up against some tremendous talent, which makes this victory even more special. I love cooking and it's fantastic to have your skills recognised. I feel honoured."
David Mulcahy, organiser of the competition and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: "It's a long road to the final. Entries need to be submitted by 1 May and if successful chefs will then have to get through the challenging semi-finals, before even getting into the final eight.
"The calibre of entries seems to get stronger and stronger every year, and I am looking forward to another excellent challenge in 2012. In recent years we've introduced categories to reflect the ethnic diversity here in the UK and it certainly went a long way in reflecting the wealth of different culinary talent in this country.
"We'll definitely be carrying on in that vein again this year and urge any chef who thinks they have what it takes to win this coveted prize to enter the competition. It's a celebration of talent, open to all, and we don't want any factor to limit a chef's chance of competing.
"Every stage of the competition will feature intense scrutinising by an experienced panel of chefs and I am delighted to welcome Philip Howard as this year's Chairman of Judges."
Advancing through the various stages of the competition will require a well thought out menu - competitors should pay particular attention to authenticity, sourcing, seasonality, timing and wastage when creating a menu that offers maximum flavour, texture, balance and style.
How to enter:
Firstly chefs must get their ideas down on paper for a three-course lunch menu for four people before 1 May 2012. From the paper judging, 40 successful entrants will be invited to compete in the semi finals to be held at culinary training centres Sheffield College (19 June 2012) and Westminster Kingsway College (26 June 2012). The final will take place at The Restaurant Show on 9 October 2012.
To apply for this prestigious competition visit www.craftguildofchefs.org and download an application form. For further information contact Clair Bowman on 01293 610 329 or follow @NCOTY_2012 on Twitter.
By Janie Stamford
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