Luke Selby, junior sous chef at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, has been named the Craft Guild of Chefs Young National Chef of the Year after winning today's contest at the Restaurant Show.
Selby won out over seven other competitors with his three-course menu of beef tartare with alliums, baby beetroot and mustard sorbet; seared sable fish, with parsley, lemon and caper dressing, pickled cockles and scraps; plus chocolate fondant with pink grapefruit, jasmine tea ice cream and grue de cacao.
James Goodyear, sous chef, also at Le Manoir, came second, while Spencer Metzger, chef de partie at the Ritz, London, came third.
The contestants, all of whom are under 23 years of age, had two hours to produce a menu including a starter of their choice, a main based on black cod, and a dessert based around a chocolate fondant.
Judges included Ben Tish, Brian Turner, 2013 National Chef of the Year Hayden Groves, and chef Mark Sargeant, Young National Chef of the Year ambassador.
Speaking to the Caterer immediately after his win, Selby thanked all the competition organisers and judges, and said: "I'm so surprised. It hasn't really sunk in. I was hoping to win, but loads of stuff happened during the competition; my oven didn't work, and it all started to go wrong at one point. But I managed to bring it back."
Sargeant, himself a former winner of both the Young competition and its senior, National Chef of the Year, commended Selby on his win.
He said: "He really stood out. He had problems, but he was always smiling, and interacting with the judges, but not in a cocky way. His techniques, his attitude - everything was brilliant."
He also said that the chefs' relatively junior positions meant their creativity was on top form.
He said: "Your flair and ambition is always highest when you're a chef de partie - when you're a head chef, it's not as much about cooking, and more about management. That why we always get such talented chefs who really stand out [in the Young competition]."
He also mentioned April Lily Partridge, chef de partie at the Club at the Ivy, as a competitor to watch.
The other four competitors were Daniel Lee, chef de partie, Brooklands Hotel; Claire Willett, chef de partie, Wyboston Lakes; Julien Pickersgill, demi chef de partie, the House of Commons; and Josh Bingham, junior chef de partie, Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons.
Each was also awarded a culinary study trip to Loch Goil, where they will have the opportunity to take part in foraging and quad biking, plus other activities.
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