The Craft Guild of Chefs is calling for entrants for its 16th annual Graduate Awards.
The competition is open to chefs aged 23 and under in full-time employment who have completed their basic chef qualifications and are wanting to develop their skills further, until 1 April 2018.
Chefs can choose between a kitchen and pastry award. Both will see chefs undertake a series of practical culinary challenges, whilst also completing a formal paper examination.
They must achieve 85% or over to pass, impressing judges including chair of examiners Russell Bateman and the new pastry examiner Will Torrent.
Torrent said: “Having watched the success of the first few pastry graduates and what they have gone on to achieve, we are excited to see who will make the grade in 2018. Our first Highest Achiever, Kacey Bignell recognised the impact of getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself into the spotlight and has made huge leaps in her career over the last few years including judging last year’s final.
“However, whatever stage you get to, it’s an absolute guarantee that you will learn new skills and develop your confidence, so I would encourage all young, dedicated pastry chefs to enter. I am proud to be leading the team of examiners in the Pastry Graduate Award and am passionate about attracting pastry chefs into the industry and helping develop their skills.”
This year the finalists will be invited to two days of mentoring in Somerset to develop the skills needed for the final exam.
The awards were founded by Steve Munkley, executive chef at the Royal Garden Hotel, in 2002. Since then, 63 chefs have joined the Graduate Awards Hall of Fame.
Munkley said: “I always follow the careers of the chefs who have been through the Graduate Awards and in just the last few years we’ve seen many success stories. This includes Danny Hoang and Ruth Hansom taking the Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) title, former YNCOTY Ben Champkin making his first National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) final and Lucas Selby going on to do the treble by winning YNCOTY, the Roux Scholarship and NCOTY.
“I am a strong believer that the Graduate Awards provide the perfect foundation for ambitious chefs who want to develop their skills for their day jobs, future careers and competitions.”