The Craft Guild of Chefs has confirmed the names of the 40 chefs who will compete in the prestigious National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) semi-final.
The chefs through to the next round have been selected after changes were made to the entry process, allowing entrants to design menus, cook dishes and take photos during the coronavirus lockdown.
The chair of judges, Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth, said: "This is my first year judging the first stage of NCOTY and many chefs were on the money in hitting the brief they were set. Seeing the huge variety of ways the entrants put their own interpretation on this task was inspiring and there are going to be some amazing dishes served up to us in September."
The semi-final will also have to be adapted, and Ainsworth has tasked the competitors with creating a dish that sums them up in just a few bites. They will then create a short video showcasing that dish and answer four supplementary questions.
The chef through to the semi-final (listed below) found out today when personalised Continental Chef Supplies jackets arrived at their homes or workplaces.
Following the semi-finals, 10 will be selected to compete in a cook-off at Le Cordon Bleu on Monday 7 September. This will be filmed and played out as the winner is revealed live on Wednesday, 30 September.
Reflecting back on the last few months, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser David Mulcahy said: "Back in March, we had to make the difficult decision of whether to continue with the competition this year or postpone it. We spoke with our chair of judges, sponsors and other organisers and listened to the views of chefs who were contacting us via social media and email.
"There was a real appetite for the competition to continue as it gave chefs hope and positivity during such a challenging time. The level of entry we have received this year is incredible and whoever wins in these circumstances is going to be a truly special person."
The chefs invited to compete in the next stage of the competition are:
- Mark Austin, executive chef, Northwood HQ, Aramark
- Andy Bowler, sous chef, Pétrus
- Fraser Bruce, head chef, Fraser Bruce @ The Fish Shed
- Nathan Cornwell, head chef, the Barn at Moor Hall
- Paul Croasdale, head chef, Stargazy Inn
- David Davey-Smith, SNCO chef, Royal Air Force
- Tristan Downes, head chef, Craft London
- Ben Drake, senior sous chef, the Elephant by Simon Hulstone
- Nico Fitzgerald, head chef, London Stock
- Alex Greene, sous chef, Lucknam Park hotel and spa
- Daniel Griffiths, sous chef, Portmeirion hotel
- Elliot Hill, head chef, Panoramic 34
- Asen Ibrov, head chef, Silver Spoon
- Matthew John, chef-patron, the Waggon Inn
- Derek Johnstone, head chef, Borthwick Castle
- Daniel Jones, head chef, JT3
- Martin Lee, head chef, Hartwell House hotel
- Rob Marshall, freelance chef
- Caroline Martins, chef-patron, Sao Paulo Group
- David Millar, head chef, CH&CO
- Graham Mitchell, head chef, the Newmachar hotel
- Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, Finnish Embassy, London
- Saurav Nath, development chef, JKS Restaurants
- Christopher Niven, executive chef
- Andonis Paraskevas, chef/consultant
- April Lily Partridge, chef, the Ledbury
- Elisabeth Passedat, head chef, the Cleveland Arms
- Marcin Pomierny, head chef, the Maids Head hotel
- Matt Ramsdale, head chef, the Chester Grosvenor
- Stefan Sewell, team captain, Combined Service Culinary Arts Team
- Christos Siomadis, executive chef, Roseate House Hotel London
- Nick Smith, head chef, Vacherin/Ashurst
- Dominic South, head chef, Corinthia London
- Lewis Spencer, sous chef, Davies and Brook
- Thomas Swaby, senior sous chef, Roux at Parliament Square
- Nat Tallents, executive chef, Fosters @ The Box Plymouth
- Simon Webb, freelance chef
- Fergus Wilford, sous chef, Corinthia London
- Danny Young, senior sous chef, Northcote
- Tim Zekki, chef-proprietor, Duende