The Craft Guild of Chefs has announced the 15 finalists who will compete in the Graduate Awards final exam on 21 August, 2018.
From 60 entrants, 24 chefs were chosen to cook in the London or Sheffield heats of the competition held on 23 May, 2018. Seven pastry chefs took part in the pastry heat which took place at the University of West London on 25 May, 2018 with chair of examiners, Will Torrent, picking the top five.
Chefs go on to sit a formal paper exam and a series of butchery and fishmongery tasks. They then cook their own dish using ingredients from a mystery basket of ingredients and a classic dessert.
The 10 Kitchen Graduate Finalists for 2018 are:
- Ben Cowley, Simpsons Restaurant
- George Birtwell, TRUEfoods
- Isabel Wallace-Hadrill, Coutts Bank
- Jordon Powell, 1877 Restaurant - Wotton House Hotel
- Zachary Hermon, Dormy House
- Chor Fai Shek, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
- Bronwen Jenkins, Royal Garden Hotel
- Josh Mcgeoghan, Colettes at The Grove
- Adam Nevin, Alyn Williams at the Westbury
- Faye Natalie De Souza, Restaurant Associates at Deloitte
The five pastry chef finalists are:
- Ieuan Davies, Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa
- Evie Mae Moore, Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard
- Sofia Petrova, Ham Yard Hotel
- Emile Druart, The Vineyard
- Emma Lawson, Northcote Manor
The Graduate Awards were founded in 2002 by Craft Guild of Chefs' vice-president, Steve Munkley. The kitchen and pastry graduate examination is for chefs aged 23 and under, to test and improve the skills learnt at college and in their early careers.
At the final exam, only chefs who achieve a pass mark of 85% or higher enter the Graduate Awards Hall of Fame. The Highest Achiever will automatically be seeded into next year's Young National Chef of the Year final with all graduate achievers being offered a place in the semi-finals in June 2019.
Before the final exam, the chefs will have the opportunity to practise at a two-day mentor experience at Cadbury Court in July.
Munkley said: "It was a tough exam but with some excellent results. The skills tests were especially pleasing as you could see the chefs had really gone out of their way to practice, which is such an important element of the Graduate Awards. All the chefs finished on time, showing the judges they had good organisational skills, which is always great to see. We are in for an exciting final and I'm hopeful we will see a good number of candidates achieve the pass mark again this year."
Will Torrent, chair of pastry examiners added: "The pastry judges and I were blown away by the standard produced by the young chefs this year. It really showed what great mentorship from head pastry chefs can do to nurture fantastic young talent. The final tasks are being decided as we speak and knowing what we saw them do last week, it makes the final a very tasty prospect."