Following semi finals in Sheffield and London, the finalists for this year's National Chef of the Year competition have been announced by the Craft Guild of Chefs.
In alphabetical order by first name, the finalists include head chef at London's St Ermins Hotel, Adam Handling; Andrew Gotting, executive group head chef at Worcestershire's Galloping Gourmet; sous chef Daniel Morgan from London's The Square and development chef Diane Camp of Reynolds in Hertfordshire.
The others are head chef of The Manor at Weston on the Green in Oxfordshire, Lahiru Jayasekara; Nick Edgar, the head chef at Oxfordshire's Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons; head chef Russell Bateman from Colette’s in Hertfordshire and Simon Webb, who works at CH&Co in London also as head chef.
These chefs were picked from a shortlist of 40, who all participated in recent semi-finals, which featured a judging panel of chefs including Vivek Singh, Phil Howard, Gary Jones, Clare Smyth, Cyrus Todiwala, Ben Tish and Benoit Blin.
One of these semi-finals took place on June 10th at Sheffield City College, the other on June 25th at London's Le Cordon Bleu cookery school .
“By becoming a National Chef of the Year, the winner will enter an exclusive club of gifted British Chefs, many whom have gone on to enjoy fantastic careers," commented vice president of the Craft Guild, David Mulcahy.
"We’re really looking forward to seeing eight talented chefs compete for their place in culinary history.”
The finalists now face a Mentor Day during September. Here they will be presented with a previously unseen selection of ingredients, and they'll have to use things from this selection in what they create during the final, on October 7th this year, which will take place before an audience.
During the semi-final, chefs had two hours to prepare three-course meals based on a specific category, such as Modern British or Asian.
Other stipulations were that the starter needed to have a vegetable focus, the main needed to use locally sourced white fish and there needed to be a summer fruit-themed desert.
Competitions linked to hospitality jobs are a common way to celebrate talent in the industry. Just recently, Katherine Larsen was named Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2014 in an annual Academy of Food & Wine Service competition.
At the same time, Loic Avril was named Young Sommelier of the Year, a title which the Wine Guild of the United Kingdom sponsors
Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.