The National Chef of the Year finalists for 2021 have been revealed by The Craft Guild of Chefs.
Contestants were whittled down to just ten finalists from a group of 40 chefs who made it through the previous round.
Despite the competition having been a fixture of the hospitality industry’s calendar for years, things looked a little different this year, as the participating professionals were unable to take part in the usual semi-final cook offs. Instead, the short list was drawn up by taking into account how well the chefs scored in previous rounds as well as how much the judges liked a dish they had to create in an earlier heat, which was intended to sum them up in just three bites.
Currently it’s hoped that the final round of the competition will still be able to go ahead at Le Cordon Bleu’s London premises on the 7 September. Unlike previous years, this one will not be held live in front of an audience. Instead, it will be streamed out to viewers via VC, and demonstrate how the chefs managed to navigate 2020’s unique circumstances as well as featuring the signature cook-off.
Judging the competition are world-class chefs such as Paul Ainsworth, Clare Smyth, Niall Keating and Claude Bosi - who boast a collection of some of the UK’s best restaurants between them.
Organiser of the competition, David Mulcahy, said: “There is no doubt that finding a way to make sure the National Chef of the Year competition could still go ahead has been challenging. But as organisers, we have always remained determined to ensure the competition’s heritage could be maintained and that the industry had a positive success story to come out of this.
“Chefs have faced some real battles along the way, even to put an entry in, but we have seen huge resilience, determination and passion from these chefs to turn adversity into positivity.”
Encouraging the public and fellow hospitality professionals to join in and support the finalists, David continued, saying: “There has never been a more important time for the industry to come together in this way and show everyone how much talent our culinary scene has to offer.”
Watch the National Chef of the Year award
Join in supporting the finalists by tuning in to the live steam on Wednesday 30 September when the winner will be announced at 2.30pm.
National Chef of the Year finalists
• Derek Johnstone, head chef, Borthwick Castle, East Lothian
• Fraser Bruce, head chef, Fraser Bruce @ The Fish Shed, St Ives
• Nathan Cornwell, head chef, The Barn at Moor Hall, Ormskirk
• Sarah-Jasmina Moussabih, head chef, Finnish Embassy, London
• Marcin Pomierny, head chef, The Maids Head Hotel Limited, Norwich
• April Lily Partridge, chef, The Ledbury, London
• Nick Smith, head chef, Vacherin / Ashurst, London
• Dominic South, head chef, Corinthia Hotel, London
• Ben Drake, senior sous chef, The Elephant by Simon Hulstone, Torquay
• Thomas Swaby, senior sous chef, Roux At Parliament Square, London
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