The Craft Guild of Chefs has confirmed the names of the 10 chefs who will compete in the prestigious Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) final in the autumn.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year's chefs have been handpicked by Michelin-starred chef and head judge Hrishikesh Desai and competition organiser David Mulcahy based on extensive research, guidance and recommendations from industry experts, rather than gaining a top 10 spot through a semi-final selection process.
The 10 finalists are:
- Eden Allsworth, demi chef de partie, Cliveden House, Berkshire
- Charlie Crote, junior sous chef, Allegra, London
- Ieuan Andrew Davies, chef de partie, Manor House hotel, Lincolnshire
- Jacob Gosselin, demi chef, Longueville Manor, Jersey
- Rebecca Mary Jackson, junior sous chef, Leila Lily's, Newcastle
- Nathan Lane, chef de partie, the Greenhouse, Dublin
- Sagar Massey, sous chef, Mar Hall hotel, Glasgow
- Dervis Mustafa, demi chef de partie, Pétrus, London
- Harry Paynter-Roberts, commis chef, Moor Hall, Lancashire
- Jamaar Semper-House, junior sous chef, Lucknam Park hotel (Restaurant Hywel Jones), Wiltshire
Mulcahy, organiser of YNCOTY and vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said the organisation is determined to see the competition go ahead despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
He explained: "We have been listening to the government guidance throughout and safety remains our top priority while giving the industry reasons to celebrate. The Craft Guild of Chefs has been determined to support the young chef community throughout this crisis. By personally inviting each finalist to get involved we know we have an incredible list of chefs lined up."
Desai added: "I'll be challenging the young chefs to be creative and making sure that excellence still prevails this year, regardless of the changes to the format. The criteria will be engaging with the spotlight on produce, sustainability and skills. After a difficult 2020, I can't wait to bring our judges together for a unique and memorable final."
The brief for the final, which will have a particular focus on sustainability, will be announced at the end of June to give the finalists plenty of time to prepare for the competition. All finalists will be invited to an online webinar to chat to Mulcahy and Desai about the competition and to connect with each other.
The cook-off will take place on 7 September at Le Cordon Bleu and the final will be aired as part of the new 'Hospitality Unites' week on 29 September. The winner will be announced on 30 September with a live online announcement following the coverage of the NCOTY competition.
YNCOTY is open to chefs who are 26 years old or younger as of 29 September 2020. Competitors are invited from all areas of hospitality, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract caterers and the public sector.