Applications have opened for the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts' Annual Awards of Excellence 2019.
Hopefuls, who must be working full-time in the UK as a chef, pastry chef or waiter and aged between 20 and 26, have until 4 February 2019 to submit their applications.
Selection is based on written entries and recipes for kitchen entrants. Successful candidates will go forward to regional quarter-finals in February, semi-finals in March/April and finals in May/June, where they will be tested on a wide range of skills.
Winners are selected on an examination basis, with all those reaching a set standard gaining the award. In addition the candidates scoring the highest marks in each discipline will be named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts' Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef and Young Waiter of the Year 2019.
All finalists receive a certificate and bottle of Laurent-Perrier Champagne.
Winners will be invited to a gala presentation dinner in July, where they will receive a chefs' jacket or lapel pin, a diploma recognising their achievement and a magnum of Laurent-Perrier Champagne. Winners will also become alumni of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.
The highest scoring winner in each section will each receive prizes worth more than £2,000, including, cookware, an engraved silver trophy, work experience at the Fat Duck and a bursary from the Savoy Educational Trust, which will take the form of an educational trip.
The 2019 judges include honorary president of the Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE) Jason Atherton, chairman of the AAE John Williams, joint chairmen of kitchen for the AAE Martyn Nail and Hywel Jones, joint chairmen of service Yolande Stanley and Sarah Hartnett as well as joint chairmen of service Sergio Rebecchi and John Cousins.
More than 600 young professionals have won the award since its launch in 1983.