The eight chefs that have made it to the final for National Chef of the Year were selected from a group of 40 shortlisted chefs who competed in the semi-final heats at Sheffield College on 10 June and Le Cordon Bleu in London on 25 June.
To get through to the next round each chef had to prepare a three course meal for four people in the space of two hours, creating a menu that reflected a number of different cuisines including Asian, Oriental, modern British, modern European and food from the rest of the world.
The eight finalists are:
- Adam Handling, head chef, St Ermins Hotel, London
- Andrew Gotting, executive group head chef, Galloping Gourmet, Worcestershire
- Daniel Morgan, sous chef, The Square, London
- Diane Camp (Kay), development chef, Reynolds, Hertfordshire
- Lahiru Jayasekara, head chef, The Manor at Weston on the Green, Oxfordshire
- Nick Edgar, head chef, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
- Russell Bateman, head chef, Colette’s, Hertfordshire
- Simon Webb, head chef, Restaurant Associates, London
At the semi-finals, chair of the judges Phil Howard said: “A huge amount of energy and enthusiasm goes into chef competitions. The competitors here today aren’t here because they have to be but because they have an absolute, all consuming passion to compete and commitment to their profession.
“As a judge I’m always interested to see where British cooking is at and what shines through from today is proper cooking, seasonality and provenance. I’ve enjoyed some outstanding food and phenomenal finesse today and I’m looking forward to some excellent food at the final.”
Chef Stars of the Future finalists
Seven of the chefs that are going forward to the Chef Stars of the future finals have also been announced. They are:
- Julien Pickersgill, House of Commons, London
- Josh Bingham, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
- April Lily Partridge, The Club at The Ivy, London
- Claire Willett, Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire
- Daniel Lee, Brooklands Hotel, Surrey
- James Goodyear, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
- Luke Selby, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
These chefs will be joined by the highest achiever at the Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence, who is automatically seeded a place in the final.
The final will take place in front of an audience at The Restaurant Show on 7 October, with the winner and two runners up being revealed alongside the National Chef of the Year winner at an awards ceremony that takes place the same day.
Vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and chairman of judges Steve Munkley said: “Once again these young chefs have demonstrated the extraordinary talent that we have at this level, giving us plenty of reason for optimism. I’m looking forward to some impressive cooking on 7 October.”