The National Chef of the Year 2016 competition is now open for entries.
The competition, run by the Craft Guild of Chefs, is open to all ethnicities of chef, male or female, from all sectors of the industry.
The deadline for entry is Friday 10 April.
The competition was established in 1972 and has helped establish the careers of past winners including Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt-Matthias, Mark Sargeant, Steve Love, Simon Hulstone and Hrishikesh Desai.
The most recent winner was Russell Bateman (pictured) who secured the title on his third attempt on 7 October 2014.
David Mulcahy, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition said: "The National Chef of the Year is a benchmark for chef talent in the UK today and a career-enhancing challenge for anyone who takes part. Not only is the award highly respected but the competition process itself provides an unrivalled platform for testing your culinary skills to the max."
This year, the panel of judges will be chaired by Clare Smyth, chef patron at the three Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Clare was among a ‘superchef' line-up of judges at the October final which included the then chair Phil Howard, Brett Graham, Bruce Poole, Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Tom Kerridge.
This year, the brief is to create an innovative menu for four people, focusing on technical skills, seasonality and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Entrants have until Friday 10 April to submit their entry for paper judging from which a shortlist of 40 chefs chefs will be selected to go through to the semi-finals in June. Visit www.craftguildofchefs.org.uk for more details and an entry form. The initial paper judging of the entries takes place on Friday 15 May and the semi-finalists will be revealed on 19 May.
The heats will take place at Sheffield College on 11 June and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on 24 June. Eight chefs will go through to the National Chef of the Year final which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday 6 October.