The Search for the UK’s Top Young Chef Talent is on!
The Search for the UK’s Top Young Chef Talent
Young National Chef of the Year surpasses all other young chef contests, bringing together those identified as the best young chefs in the industry and giving them a platform on which to build their future careers. Winning YNCOTY firmly establishes a chef as a rising star of the culinary world both in the UK and beyond. Being crowned as Young National Chef of the Year is a highly sought after prize, but as well as going home with this prestigious accolade, the winner will also receive some incredible stagiaires and PR opportunities that will truly raise their profile in the industry.
What's happening this year?
For 2023, Candidates are required to create a starter dish using fresh Norwegian cod that is suitably garnished and served. Lisa wants to see a delicious dish focusing on how the cod is prepared and cooked to perfection. This could be pan fried, steamed or baked and must be accompanied with a seasonal garnish. Successful finalists will be required to fillet a whole cod at the beginning of the final cook-off as part of a skills test.
For the main course, chefs need to create a dish using whole fresh duck using two different cuts. The chefs are advised to pay real care and attention to the way the duck is cooked and demonstrate how to prepare it, while minimising waste from both the duck and the other ingredients they use. Competitors must include details of where the duck has come from in their entry to demonstrate consideration for provenance, sustainability and sourcing.
Finally, the chefs are required to create their own interpretation of the regional classic Manchester Tart for dessert. Lisa Goodwin-Allen is encouraging chefs to think ‘out of the box’ with a fresh approach to create a well-balanced, delicious, and pleasing finale to their menu. Entries from invited young chefs will be reviewed by the judging team to determine six candidates to join the four seeded finalists from The Graduate Awards, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards for Excellence, British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year and World Skills.
Chefs invited to take part in this year’s semi-final are:
- Benjamin Mabley, senior chef de partie, Hartwell House Hotel & Spa
- Cliodhna Reid, commis chef, Gleneagles Hotel
- Elliot Wakefield, junior sous chef, Dorian, Notting Hill
- George Baldwin-Edie, development chef
- Harry Donnelly, chef de partie, The RAF Club
- Imogen Parrish, head chef, The Running Horses, Mickleham
- Jack Edgar, Atlantic Hotel, Jersey
- Jack Postles, Junior Sous Chef, The Art School Restaurant
- Joshua Singer, senior chef de partie, Scott's, Richmond
- Maciej Pisarek, demi chef de partie, The Savoy
- Miltan Masha, senior sous chef, Monarch Theatre
- Morgan Stephens, demi chef de Partie, L'Enclume
- Nathan Johnson, junior sous chef, Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath
- Nicole Watt, ABCS, Royal Navy, HMS Defender
- Richard Postles, Junior Sous Chef, The Art School Restaurant
- Rick Owens, sous chef, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
- Sam Dixon, demi chef de partie, Northcote
- Stephanie Belcher, junior sous chef, Coast Restaurant, Saundersfoot
- Subhan Malik, junior sous chef, The Beaumont Hotel
Look out for the big reveal of the ten finalists on Friday 28th July 2023.
Hear what our winners had to say...
“Winning the title of Young National Chef of the Year means the world to me and I put my heart and soul into the competition. I had such an amazing team behind me from Le Manoir, supporting me all the way to help me achieve it. This level of support makes such a difference to a young chef and I’m so proud to join such an impressive list of former winners. I didn’t expect to enjoy the final cook-off as much as I did but the minute I stepped into the kitchen I just got my head down as I wanted this title so much.”
- "Winning Young National Chef of the Year felt unbelievable. It was amazing to compete against other great professionals from across the country. It proves that hard work pays off and I would encourage any aspiring chefs to take part in this fantastic competition. The experience of developing dishes using sustainable ingredients was a great challenge and one which was both exciting and relevant."
- I still can't believe that I have won YNCOTY - I really didn't expect it! It's a huge honour, particularly given the standard of the other chefs in the final and being such a prestigious competition this can only benefit my career. I can't thank the Craft Guild, judges and sponsors enough. I am excited to see what will happen in the next stage of my career.
- “Winning Young National Chef of the Year was the best feeling in the world. It proves that if you work hard and dedicate yourself to the challenge, anything is possible. I feel incredible honoured and look at this as a stepping stone to hopefully even greater achievements.”
- “It is the greatest honour to be named YNCOTY and to be recognised by the judges and my peers. All of the contestants work incredibly hard to get to this level and to have won, among such strong competition, was amazing. I recommend to any ambitious chef to enter such competitions - the hard work really pays off, whether your win or lose - its a great experience.”
- “It is great to be able to bring the title of National Young Chef of the Year not only to Northcote but to my home county of Lancashire. I am so proud and grateful to have achieved this award for not only myself but for Northcote as well. As many will know I started my career at Northcote as an apprentice and I want to ensure that this award encourages the current and next generation of apprentices to see that hard work, determination and passion go a long way in achieving your own personal goals within the industry. The award has already brought a buzz and excitement to my personal career with the opportunities, contacts and experience that I have gained from it”
- “I can’t put into words how amazing it feels. I’m so happy to have won. I’ve come second in the past and knew that I really wanted to win this year.”
- “Being seeded into the live final of the Young National Chef of the Year competition was an honour in itself but to go on to win it was more than I could ever have hoped. I loved every part of this competition and have had some incredible opportunities since winning but there’s still plenty more to come. If you are looking to get your name seen and heard, this is definitely a competition to be part of.”
- “Taking part in the competition was both challenging and rewarding and winning Young National Chef of the Year was the icing on the cake. I’ve learnt a lot and it certainly helped me grow in confidence as a chef. I’d definitely encourage my peers to take part.”
- “Winning Young National Chef of the Year was a career highlight, the experience of taking part is something that I’ll never forget and I’d recommend it to any chef serious about competitive cooking. It’s both a stepping stone to senior competitions and a great confidence boost.”
YNCOTY Title Holders
- 2023 Mae Dionio
- 2022 Daniel Cornish
- 2021 Edwin Kuk
- 2020 William Keeble
- 2019 Henry Wadsworth
- 2018 Danny Young
- 2017 Ruth Hansom
- 2013 Ben Champkin
- 2012 Charles Smith
- 2016 Danny Hoang
- 2014 Luke Selby