National Chef of the Year 2018 crowned

After a gruelling two-hour cook-off in front of a packed audience at The Restaurant Show, the Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed The National Chef of the Year 2018. Luke Selby, took the top spot after impressing over 20 judges with his starter, main course and dessert.

Selby's menu included a starter of sea vegetable minestrone, mussels and farfalle pasta served with a poached scallop, British caviar and a lemongrass scented buttermilk sauce; a main course of roasted fallow deer, blackberry, celeriac, sprouts and bacon served with a venison sauce finished with chocolate; and a dessert of warm walnut almondine, ginger infused bramley purée, caramelised cox apple filled with an apple compote with cinnamon and ginger ice cream.

Selby has been successful at major Craft Guild of Chefs events including achieving the Graduate Award in 2013, being crowned Young National Chef of the Year in 2014 and now winning the UK’s most prestigious culinary title.

Taking the second-place spot was Adam Thomason, head chef at Restaurant Associates - Deloitte and in third place was Simon Webb, head chef, Private Dining at Langham Hotel.

The National Chef of the Year is run by the Craft Guild of Chefs. To be crowned as the winner, a chef has to complete a paper entry, compete against 39 other chefs in a semi-final and impress some of the biggest names the industry has to offer in front of an eager audience at the final. Judges included Tom Kerridge, Sat Bains, Simon Rogan, Claude Bosi and Andrew Pern as well as former NCOTY winners, Simon Hulstone and Frederick Forster.

David Mulcahy, organiser of The National Chef of the Year and Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said, “I think this year has been one of the most hotly anticipated finals we’ve seen for some time. The level of cooking was incredible and all ten finalists gave our judges a very difficult task.

'The reason we have The Young National Chef of the Year is so that we have a pipeline coming through for competitors who want to go on and aim for the senior competition. The Craft Guild of Chefs support chefs at every level from school to early stages of their career to special moments like we’ve witnessed today.”

Chair of judges, Gary Jones, executive chef of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons commented on the competition: “I have loved being the Chair of judges today, the competition just gets better every year and it truly is an incredible event. The National Chef of the Year is brilliant for the industry and everyone involved are great ambassadors in showing the skills today’s chefs bring to hospitality.

'We had some young judges involved this year and they worked alongside the more experienced, established judges, and it has been very successful. The way Luke Selby is so focused is unique for such a young guy and it is a huge achievement to win both young and senior titles.”

Luke Selby said, “I am speechless. The National Chef of the Year is such a fantastic competition. I wasn’t expecting it at all and I’m blown away that I’ve now won both competitions. I’ve been practising every single day for the last few weeks so am looking forward to celebrating and then getting some rest.”