Today is the final of the Young Chef of the Year Award for the hospitality trade as nominated by Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Earlier this month, the finalists for the UK section of the international competition were announced as well as those for Young Sommelier of the Year Award, which takes place on Thursday at London’s Gaggenau Showrooms.
But first, back to the Young Chef UK final heat. Twelve names have gone into the hat from fine dining establishments from right across the country. They will have to prepare a three-course meal not knowing what tools they have to work with as all of the ingredients will come from a market basket that is being kept secret until the final itself, taking place in Worthy Down. All of their past cookery class knowledge will be put to the test in this one-off cook-off event.
The finalists will have to impress a select panel of judges, which will not only includes names from renowned terra firma eating establishments but also the development chef from P&O cruises, Hayden Davies. No doubt the idea behind having a P&O representative on the panel is to snap up talent to sail the seven seas and look after their customers who have come to expect nothing but the best, over the years. From the shortlist, there should be more than enough who qualify and, let’s face it, are there many better ways to see the world than when you’re young and in demand?
Hayden will have to be patient, though. The winner of the UK final, a prestigious enough accolade in its own rite, will then head off to Berlin for the International Final in September.
Likewise, for the Sommelier of the Year Award, there will be a dozen finalists, but the three-stage competition will have a slightly different feel as the judges will play an active part in the final. As well as demonstrating their knowledge of alcohol, in all its forms, the finalists will have to role play with the judges, identifying which wines are recommended for which dish, champagne service etiquette and inter-acting with the judge to be assessed on their professionalism when dealing with customers. It really is an all-round competition that the youngsters will have to go through.
The competitors in both finals will have to wait around a week or so to see who’s won as the victor of each will be announced at the Dorchester Hotel on June 20th in a special presentation dinner.