Restaurant Gordon Ramsay chef de partie Luke Selby reflects on his past successes as the Craft Guild of Chefs' Graduate Award winner and Young National Chef of the Year, and encourages young chefs to follow his lead. He speaks to Amanda Afiya
Did you always want to be a chef when you were growing up?
What is it about being a chef that you love the most?
The food and the cooking! I also love nature and enjoy taking the best produce and creating something amazing out of that.
What's been the proudest moment of your career?
I would have to say winning Young National Chef of the Year [YNCOTY] in 2014 is my proudest moment to date.
How did it feel to be crowned YNCOTY and what opportunities have you had since?
I was very happy when I won. It was something I'd been working really hard for. It was just a massive privilege to hear my named called as the winner. The prizes were amazing, I got to experience so much that I wouldn't have otherwise. The study trip to Lyon was incredible. The competition also led to me making lots of important industry contacts.
You got your YNCOTY finalist spot after completing the Craft Guild of Chefs' Graduate Award, how did you find the exam?
I really enjoyed it - it was great to be part of. It's a test of the invaluable skills a young chef needs.
What was the highlight of the Graduate Awards?
I enjoyed the whole thing but particularly the skills test, which was prepping fish. I scored 10 out of 10 in the test, which hadn't happened before, so I was very proud.
What advice would you give to someone considering entering the Graduate Award in the future?
I'd say go for it and practise. I'm a big believer in hard work and if you really put the effort in you'll get the rewards.
How has entering awards and competitions helped your career?
Awards and competitions help you develop as a chef. It's good to put yourself out there, it really makes you be the best you can be.
The Graduate Awards are open for entries for chefs under the age of 23. Senior chefs are being called upon to act as mentors for the young chefs to enter before the closing date on 15 May. More information can be found on the Craft Guild of Chefs website atwww.craftguildofchefs.org
Craft Guild of Chefs launches search for 2017 National Chef of the Year >>
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