Two of the chefs vying for the title of “Chefs’ Guild UK Restaurant Chef of the Year 2018” are from restaurants in Pembrokeshire. Will Holland, Head Chef at Coast Restaurant at Coppet Hall, Saundersfoot, won the coveted award last year and this year is joined in the semi finals by Allister Barsby, Executive Chef at Coast’s sister restaurant, The Grove at Narberth. They will now compete in a series of heats before the winner is announced on 3rd October at the Restaurant Show at Olympia.
To get to the semi-finals, chefs had to impress 13 judges, including the new Chair of Judges, Gary Jones from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons who will oversee the whole competition. He analysed all menu courses alongside David Mulcahy and Andrew Bennett who were on hand to help whittle the list down. Starters were judged by Alyn Williams, Peter Joyner and Willie Pike, with main courses being scrutinised by Clare Smyth MBE, Philip Howard, Russell Bateman and Steve Scuffell. Marking the mouth-watering desserts this year was Graham Hornigold, Sarah Hartnett and Julie Sharp.
Since The National Chef of the Year’s launch in 1972, previous winners including Gordon Ramsay, Alyn Williams and Mark Sargeant have seen how it helps fast-track careers to put winners firmly on the map, creating many opportunities including wider industry and consumer recognition, and a host of culinary accolades.
Speaking after the judging day, Gary Jones, executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons said “The paper judging process is rigorous, detailed and thorough. It’s a tough assignment to take on and it’s taken several of the industry’s finest to assess the skills and professionalism of all our entrants. The standard of recipes and methods are so important for success. To stand out, chefs must show their knowledge, understanding of flavour combinations, seasonality, provenance, balance, texture and nail the brief to the tee. We are looking for ‘brilliant simplicity’.
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