The Craft Guild of Chefs' 2019 Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) competition has launched with a royal wedding theme for the semi-finals.
Semi-finalists have been tasked with devising a celebratory two-course lunch menu reflecting the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Chefs are given the freedom to interpret the lunch in their own way, but the main course and dessert must be produced and served within 90 minutes.
The YNCOTY semi-finals will take place at Sheffield City College on Tuesday 12 June and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Tuesday 19 June 2018. To earn a place in the semi-final, chefs must already have seen success in another UK culinary competition or have been invited to take one of the wild card spots. As part of the launch, the Guild has confirmed the six competitions in which semi-finalists will be seeded from:
• The South West Young Chef of the Year
• The North West Chef of the Year
• Young North East Chef of the Year
• UK Skills runner-up
• Achievers of the Graduate Awards Kitchen Exam
• The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Chef
The overall winners from the British Culinary Federation, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence, World Skills UK and the Craft Guild of Chefs' Graduate Awards will be automatically seeded a place in the final at the Restaurant Show on Tuesday 2 October 2018.
The organiser of Young National Chef of the Year and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy, said: "When planning their menus, we want competitors to focus on the sourcing of ingredients and seasonality, whilst the judges will be looking for good use of skills and innovation."
Former winner of both the YNCOTY and National Chef of the Year Mark Sargeant will continue his role as ambassador for the competition.
He said: "The standard of cooking is always impressive, and I think this is down to the way we select the finalists, as well as the mentoring and support they receive from the wider industry, especially the judges."