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18th March 2024

Craft Guild of Chefs speaks to NCOTY winner Alex Angelogiannis

Written by: Edward Waddell
Craft Guild of Chefs reporter Edward Waddell interviewed National Chef of the Year winner Alex Angelogiannis about that winning feeling, his favourite thing to cook and what he has been up to since winning the prestigious competition.

Alex Angelogiannis of The Glenturret Restaurant by Lalique emerged victorious as the National Chef of the Year winner in what judges described as ‘the closest competition the Craft Guild of Chefs has ever seen’.

To take the title, Alex served up a starter of line-caught mackerel, guts and all. His main course was a best end of Lumina lamb, rib, Coppa and offal dolma, followed by a dessert of Valrhona chocolate & beetroot, lovage and brambles.

Speaking about the feeling of winning, Alex commented: “When they announced my name I was over the moon, really happy to be the winner. I was very happy with how I did so I was very confident about my cooking and had come to terms with no matter what happened with the awards [night] I would still walk away happy because I was proud of my dishes and my menu. It has been very beneficial to me – great exposure and my confidence and the validation for the future and for everything we are doing.”

Since winning Alex has been promoted to head chef at The Glenturret Restaurant. He added: “I have kept on doing what I was doing before. Just keeping my head down and working really hard at Glenturret Restaurant. All the hard work over the last few years has come to fruition – winning National Chef of the Year [and] being awarded two michelin stars. You only you get out what you put in.”

Whilst the title of National Chef of the Year is the prize that every chef is after, the competition is about so much more as the Craft Guild of Chefs aims to help develop and nurture the winner and provide culinary opportunities ‘like no other’.

When asked about what advice he would give entrants to this year’s competition. Alex noted: “I think it is a bit of anomaly to win on your first attempt. I think what I did was worry a little bit too much on the fine print and the details. They added a little bit of stress that I didn’t need. I think just go for it. I think if your considering to apply then obviously you are a really good cook because this is a really hard competition.

“It’s a very prestigious competition and it’s a very talented competition. Not just on the day but getting there, finding the time to practice your dish around your job and going up against such great talent and being judged by even greater talent.”

Following the announcement that Matt Abé is the new chair of judges for National Chef of the Year, his brief for this year’s competition has been unveiled. This year the criteria focuses on demonstrating excellent culinary skills across all disciplines, the creative use of local and global sustainable ingredients as well as the avoidance of any unnecessary food waste.

Alex said the best thing about entering the competition, apart from winning, was that he learnt a lot more about himself. He said: “It’s a new type of stress and a new type of work for me outside of your daily tasks of running a section or running a restaurant.

“I learnt a lot about trying to manage that stress, manage my nerves and be able to compete in a different environment and under new pressures. I learnt a lot about myself and about how I manage that sort of new stress.”

When asked about his favourite dish, Alex responded: “Lamb. That’s why I competed last year as obviously lamb was the main course. I love cooking lamb, I love cooking it over fire. I love all the offal bits so when the competition came up I was like ‘this suits me very well’. It’s my favourite thing to cook.”