The Ultimate Culinary Challenge

Seen as the UK’s most prestigious and respected culinary content, the NCOTY competition has a long heritage, having helped to launch careers and opportunities for some of the biggest names in the UK’s chef world. The passion, the emotion and the pure blood, sweat and tears you see in a cook-off, shows how much these competitions mean to a chef. It tests more than culinary skills; it tests character, resilience and raw emotion and only the best will take that top spot.

With the prestigious panel of judges, led by Kenny Atkinson, every chef who enters knows they will gain valuable feedback to help them improve; whatever stage of the competition they reach. There’s never been a more important time for chefs to push themselves out of their comfort zone and into the NCOTY spotlight.

NCOTY Criteria for 2023

This year the National Chef of the Year criteria focuses on food waste and the creative use of ingredients as the UK and rest of the world grapple with the cost-of-living crisis, food inflation, supply chain disruption and ongoing global events, which continue to challenge us all. The NCOTY judges are keen to see how culinary skills along with sustainable, local and global produce are used to demonstrate an excellent understanding of ingredients. You can read the full criteria here.

We wish to invite professional chefs from all ethnic and gender backgrounds to join in this celebration by entering one of the UKs longest running and most prestigious competitions.

There are no barriers to entry and celebrating our rich culture and culinary heritage is done best when reflected by the diversity within the hospitality industry.

As we emerge from a difficult period for the food industry, we look forward to showcasing talent, welcoming chefs, and adding value and career opportunities to those who engage within the National Chef of the Year programme this year and into the next half century of this fantastic competition.

Hear what our winners had to say...

NCOTY Title Holders

  • 2023 Ben Murphy
  • 2022 Thomas Swaby
  • 2021 Nick Smith
  • 2020 Steve Groves
  • 2019 Kuba Winkowski
  • 2018 Luke Selby
  • 2017 James Devine
  • 2016 Larry Jayasekara
  • 2014 Russell Bateman
  • 2013 Hayden Groves
  • 2012 Alyn Williams
  • 2011 Frederick Forster
  • 2010 Hrishikesh Desai
  • 2008 Simon Hulstone
  • 2006 Eyck Zimmer
  • 2004 Steve Love
  • 2002 Mark Sargeant
  • 2000 Bruce Sangster
  • 1984 Robert Mabey
  • 1982 William Stafford
  • 1980 Ken Whibley
  • 1978 Paul Brady
  • 1976 Eddie van Meille
  • 1974 Brian Price
  • 1972 Pierre Jacquemin
  • 1998 Kevin Viner
  • 1996 David Everitt-Matthias
  • 1994 Lou Jones
  • 1992 Gordon Ramsay
  • 1990 Roger Narbett
  • 1988 Mark Gregory
  • 1986 David Pitchford