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28th January 2019

Craft Guild opens 2019 Graduate Awards, urging employers to spotlight young chefs

Written by: Katie Imms
As part of our mission to develop and nurture the future stars of the culinary world, the Craft Guild of Chefs has launched its annual appeal for candidates to enter its 2019 Graduate Awards.

Since launching in 2002, we have thus far seen 69 chefs pass the Graduate Award with former achievers going on to win Young National Chef of the Year, the Roux Scholarship and even the highly prestigious National Chef of the Year.


Aimed at chefs who have completed their basic culinary qualifications and are keen to develop their skills further, the annual examination is open to aspiring kitchen and pastry chefs under the age of 23.


To be in with a chance of joining the Graduate Award hall of fame, those interested must simply complete the online entry form, detailing their current workplace and a mentor willing to support them through the various stages.


Successful applicants will then compete in one of two heats, from which both the kitchen and pastry award finalists will be selected. 


With the Craft Guild reintroducing the inspiring Mentor Experience for 2019, finalists will be invited on a two-day trip to the Cotswolds where they will visit local suppliers and learn from industry leaders, including Daylesford Organics.


This once in a lifetime opportunity will also give finalists a chance to connect and network with chefs from other areas of the industry. We will reveal further detail via the Craft Guild social channels over the coming months.


To be considered for the Graduate Awards, we are looking for chefs who have completed their basic culinary qualifications and want to develop their skills further now they are in the workplace.


A choice of two examinations - Kitchen and Pastry – are now open for entry, and successful chefs will have undertake a series of practical challenges and formal paper examination.


Candidates must impress some of the industry’s most well respected chefs in order to achieve the 85% pass mark, including Chair of Examiners, Russell Bateman and Pastry Chief Examiner, Will Torrent.


Steve Munkley, Craft Guild vice president and Graduate Awards founder, said: “Last year was a real highlight for the Graduate Awards as, with the support of our sponsors, we held our first two-day mentor experience.


“This offered chefs opportunities that they may not have otherwise been exposed to in their day jobs and regardless of whether they achieved the pass-mark, they learnt so much from being part of it.


“It was a huge success and plans are well underway for this year’s event.


“I’d encourage all head of kitchens to talk to their young chefs about entering as each year we see chefs grow at every stage and it really can push them - and your restaurant - into the limelight.”


Heads of the Pastry Award, Will Torrent, added: “This will be the fourth year we have run the Pastry Graduate Award and the interest and number of entries is growing year on year.


“I love how we are making real steps at getting pastry chefs on the map.

“The skills we see at the final exam are fantastic but most importantly, the journey these chefs go on is incredible.


“Being part of the Graduate Awards is extremely important to me and a role I’m proud to take on again this year.”


To enter the 2019 Graduate Awards, chefs need to complete the entry form at by Friday 26th April.


Chefs should keep the semi-finals date of 27 June free; as well as the final exam date of 29 August.