National Chef of the Year 2025 semi-finalists unveiled

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

National Chef of the Year 2025 semi-finalists unveiled

Related tags National Chef of the Year Competition Craft guild of chefs Chef

The Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed the 40 chefs that have been selected to go through to the semi-final stage of its National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) competition.

Competitors looking to reach the semi-finals were required to produce a three-course celebration menu, with the judges, led by Matt Abé, chef patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, praising the overall standard of entries this year.

“In my first year as chair of judges, I have loved seeing and scoring every single dish put forward by the competitors,” Abé says.

“It’s an honour to lead the judging team for such a prestigious culinary title.”

All entries were judged anonymously with competitor names and places of work hidden prior to the experts seeing each entry.

There are separate judging teams for starter, main course and dessert, and another team viewing the whole menu for overall balance.

The 40 successful semi-finalists have now received a Lafont chef’s jacket from Continental Chef Supplies (CCS) in the post, which provides confirmation they have reached the next stage of the competition.

Over the next few weeks, these chefs must create an amuse-bouche or pre-dessert with the theme ‘a taste of summer’ using seasonal ingredients.

Each chef will be required to bring this to life with a story of a ‘personal food hero’. This could be a fellow chef, family member, mentor or industry personality that has inspired the dish.

A new panel of experts will score the semi-finals alongside Abé, and results from both rounds will be considered when selecting the 10 finalists.

“Generally, the standard has been very strong, and we already know that whittling them down from 40 to ten is going to be a challenge,” adds Abé.

“My advice for this next stage is to really focus on telling us your own personal story so as judges we understand the creative thinking behind your dishes.”

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