National Chef of the Year

Each year since its launch in 1972, The National Chef of the Year competition seeks to find the best national and young national chefs. Carried out by the Craft Guild of Chefs this award hand picks the most prestigious fresh talent to find the next big thing in the culinary world.


Previous winners of this award include familiar faces, such as Mark Sergeant, Gordan Ramsey and Alyn Williams.

The judging panel is a culmination of well- known and respected talents; from Tom Kerridge to Sat Bains. Others including; Lee Westcott, Simon Hulstone, Philip Howard Benoit Blin, Clare Smyth, Frederick Forster, Claude Bosi and Graham Hornigold with executive head chef Gary Jones. The judging panel is chaired by Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

With Gary Jones saying, ‘I think this is the strongest line-up we have ever seen’ it comes as no surprise that the marks were tight for this year’s contestants. According to the Craft Guild of Chefs only the most innovative and creative chefs get a shot at the title!


Who are the winners?

After what the Craft Guild of Chefs described as ‘a gruelling two-hour cook-off in front of a packed audience at The Restaurant Show’ The winners were… For The National Chef of the Year 2018, Luke Selby has been crowned. Beating Adam Thomason the head chef at Restaurant Associates – Deloitte coming second, and Simon Webb, head chef at Restaurant Associates, who took third place.

The winners’ menu included a mouth-watering starter of sea vegetable minestrone, mussels and farfalle pasta with a poached scallop, British caviar and a lemongrass scented buttermilk sauce. For his main course, Selby served a roasted fallow deer, blackberry, celeriac, sprouts and bacon served with a venison sauce, finished with chocolate. And the part we’ve all been waiting for, the dessert, a warm walnut almondine, ginger infused bramley purée, caramelised cox apple filled with apple compote with cinnamon and ginger ice cream.

This is not the first prestigious award for Selby this year, having already won the title of Roux Scholar in April he is certainly in the culinary spotlight.

Selby was the head chef at Dabbous. And along with bragging rights, his new title comes with benefits such as, a one-year membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs and his own recipe book. Along with this, Luke will receive a media training session from KNORR, an exclusively designed winners plate, medal and an additional prize of £500 worth of Churchill product. If that doesn’t sound like enough he will also enjoy a trip to Mexico courtesy of Lockhart Catering, two days in Switzerland to embark in The Nespresso Chef Academy Training Programme and the opportunity to design their own chocolate in the Cacao Barry Or Noir lab.


Young National Chef of the Year

As Young National Chef of the Year, Danny Young was crowned. Currently the junior sous chef from Northcote Manor, Young has a bright future ahead. Like Selby, Young, will receive one year’s membership to the Craft Guild of Chef’s and an activity voucher of £2,500 courtesy of KNORR. He will also enjoy the culinary trip of a lifetime with Michel Roux Jr to Norway arranged by Norwegian Seafood Council. Churchill will also be teaming up with Nigel Haworth and Northcote Manor to provide the winner with the ultimate gastronomic experience at the 2018 Obsession event.

So, what does this award, really mean? Winning this award can be life changing, having your name on the Craft Guild Hall of Fame can put you in the culinary spotlight.

The best example of how this award can change a young chef’s life would be through Gordon Ramsey. After winning the award 24 years ago he has since set up his first restaurant in 1998 and gone on to receive 3 Michelin stars. He also received an OBE from the Queen and now has restaurants situated all around the world.

Ramsey along with many other talented winners have been forever blessed with this award. Make sure to keep an eye on this year’s winners!

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