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National Chef of the Year and Young National Chef of the Year 2020
Closely fought battle at Restaurant Show provides winner for Craft Guild of Chefs competition
An impressive list of chefs has been whittled down from over 100 to just one as Steve Groves, head chef at Roux at Parliament Square was selected by the UK’s toughest culinary experts to take the title of The National Chef of the Year 2020.
After the final cook off between 10 talented chefs at The Restaurant Show earlier this week, the runner-up spot was Derek Johnstone, head chef from Borthwick Castle with Nick Smith, head chef at Vacherin placed third.
Chefs had to create three courses in two hours. Steve served up a menu of red mullet, shellfish mousse and bouillabaisse sauce, followed by a main course of suckling pig, Jerusalem artichokes, quince, hazelnut and trompettes with Calvados Baba, honey poached pears and creme fraiche Chantilly for dessert.
The judges were led by Gary Jones, executive head chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons who had a team of 19 chefs helping him find the winner. The list included Sat Bains, Clare Smyth, Claude Bosi, Jonny Lake, Philip Howard, Ollie Dabbous, James Petrie and former winners Alyn Williams and Simon Hulstone.
Sustainability and seasonality were the key focus points of this year’s brief which was put together by Gary Jones and competition organiser, David Mulcahy. Finalists were tasked with creating a bouillabaisse style flavoured starter using under-utilised fish. For the main course, chefs had to use cuts of suckling pig with the opportunity to pre-cook one element of the pig prior to the competition, ensuring it did not amount to more than 20% of the final dish. Finally, the chefs were asked to create an elegant dessert honouring seasonal pears, which showcased technical skill, balance and maximum flavour impact.
Young National Chef of the Year
Following the competition for Young National Chef of the Year that had taken place earlier in the year, the winner was announced as William Keeble who is demi chef de partie at Whatley Manor. In second place was Jordon Powell, chef de partie at South Lodge Hotel and, in third, came George Harding, senior chef de partie, The Atlantic Hotel.
The ten finalists were tasked with creating two different vegetarian or vegan canapes for the starter and a Norwegian cod main course appropriately garnished and served with an emulsified hot, warm or cold sauce. Finally, they served up a plated dessert using a classic Victoria Sponge as a base.
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