Craft Guild of Chefs reveals semi-finalists for 2019 Graduate Awards

Twenty-nine hopeful chefs are looking forward to completing the next round of the Graduate Awards on Thursday 27 June 2019.

The Graduate Awards are open to kitchen and pastry chefs, aged 23 and under. Taking part in these annual awards provides the opportunity for young chefs, who are now in the workplace, to develop their culinary skills.

With the opportunity to go on and compete in Young National Chef of the Year, it also puts chefs who make the grade firmly into the industry spotlight.

Since it launched in 2002, the Guild has seen 69 chefs pass the Graduate Awards, with former achievers going on to win The Young National Chef of the Year, The Roux Scholarship and The National Chef of the Year.

In the northern and southern heats, the chefs will complete a series of challenges with successful chefs going on to take part in the final exam on Thursday 29 August.

During the kitchen test, the chefs will complete a butchery and fishmongery task, a paper exam and create a main course using a mystery basket of ingredients before making a classic dessert. In the pastry exam, the creative chefs will complete a variety of pastry challenges briefed by chair of judges, Will Torrent.

The chefs named in the upcoming heats are:
Northern Heat

Michael Jones, Rudding Park Hotel
George Birtwell, TRUEfoods
Theo Hadjitofi, de Banke Group
Rhys Inman, Shears Yard
Leuan Davies, The Manor House Hotel
Anthony Brooks, The Elm Tree
Keegan Loveday, The Crown Hotel Bawtry
Justin Skinner, Tuddenham Mill
Megan Beale, Dumbleton Hall Hotel

Southern Heat
Jack Clarke, East India Club
Opeoluwa Odutayo, Launceston Place Restaurant
Joshua Rooney, Petrus
Daniel Ridley, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
Ashleigh Hellowell, The Royal Garden Hotel
Reece Kallah, 45 Jermyn Street
Marv Daniel Unalit, Cliveden House
Daniel Buckle, Deakins
Thomas Pymer, The Magdalen Arms
Nathaniel Berney, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Arron Varley, The Vineyard, Stockcross
Angelica Kainth, Fenchurch Restaurant

Pastry Exam
Connor Liam James Stow, Just Desserts and Hull College
Thomas Bayliss, Le Gavroche
Nathan Alexander Dors, Alveston House Hotel
Laura Aylott, The Thatchers Arms
Amy Jones, Cheshire College South and West
Kit De’Ath, Compass Group, Chartwells, De Montfort University
Charlotte Bonham, The Pig
Kate Mudge, Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa

Steve Munkley, founder of the Graduate Awards and Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, (pictured) said, “It’s set to be an incredible experience for all of the finalists with the return of the two-day mentor event. To be part of that opportunity, the chefs will first need to stand out in the heats and impress our examiners, including chairs Russell Bateman and Will Torrent.

'My best piece of advice to all of those hoping for a final spot is to work closely with your mentors, making time to practise the different elements outside of your day job.

'All those who have succeeded in the past have shown true dedication and a passion to work hard and make sure they achieve the pass mark of 85%. It’s then led them to career-changing opportunities, and we look forward to discovering which chefs will be joining our Graduate list this year.”

The chefs who make the final will go on a memorable two-day mentor experience in July including a full day at Daylesford Organics where they will begin the experience with a tour of the farm and all its surroundings, followed by a cheese demo from the award-winning cheesemakers.

A BBQ lunch will be served before finalists watch inspiring demos from the London Meat Company, James Knight of Mayfair and talented pastry chef Andrew Ditchfield from the House of Commons.

Chefs will enjoy an evening dinner at the Rabbit Pub in Kingham and an overnight stay at the Crown and Cushion Hotel, giving each chef the opportunity to socialise with their peers. Day two of the trip will include a visit to Shipton Mill for an engaging tour of the mill and surroundings before heading to Upton Smokery to explore and relish a BBQ Lunch. An afternoon of gin tasting will follow at Cotswolds Distillery.