The winners of this year's Craft Guild of Chefs' Graduate Award competition have been announced after a gruelling five-hour trial in the kitchens of University College Birmingham.
Seen as the industry's hardest skills test, 14 young chefs under the age of 23 competed in the final kitchen or pastry exams.
The victors, who all scored a grade above 85%, were Ben Cowley from Simpsons Restaurant, Edgbaston, Jordon Powell who works at The Half Moon and Bronwen Jenkins from Royal Garden Hotel, London. Passing the pastry tests were Ieuan Davies from Pennyhill Park Hotel, Bagshot, Surrey, Emma-Jayne Lawson who works at Northcote Manor, Langho, Lancashire and Sofia Petrova who is based at Ham Yard Hotel, London.
Founder of the Graduate Awards, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Steve Munkley said: "This year we saw some of the highest scores we've ever seen in the butchery and fishmongery tests and I'm confident this is down to the mentor experience.
"It's two-days of their careers the finalists won't ever forget and whilst only a few chefs passed the overall exam, the development of basic skills during this process was exciting to see.
"Knowing that we are making a real difference to the level of raw culinary skills in the industry makes all the hard work worthwhile. Those who didn't make the grade really should think about coming back next year and trying again, as so often we see chefs taking a few attempts to get through.
"It's a high standard but when the achievers go on to take part in competitions such as Young National Chef of the Year it is absolutely key they are ready to do battle at the highest level."
Chair of the Pastry Graduate Award Will Torrent added: "For me the one thing that has stood out beyond anything else is the personal development of these chefs.
"Yes, we tasted some delicious food that I would be happy to pay for, but I also watched young chefs push through difficulties during the five-hour exam and come out the other side stronger.