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29th February 2024

Matt Abé & Russell Bateman take lead in NCOTY & YNCOTY competitions

Written by: Edward Waddell
In what has been a hugely anticipated announcement the Craft Guild of Chefs has confirmed that Matt Abé and Russell Bateman will be the next chairs of judges in its leading culinary competitions.

Matt Abé, chef patron at three Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, is the new chair of judges for National Chef of the Year (NCOTY). Former NCOTY winner and head chef at the Falcon Hotel, Russell Bateman has been unveiled as chair for the Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) competition.

David Mulcahy, competition director and food innovation & sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, commented: “The Craft Guild of Chefs prides itself on the rigorous judging process we have in the National Chef of the Year competition, and this is always strengthened by us selecting some of the most influential chefs in the UK to chair it.

“We are delighted to welcome Matt Abé as our new NCOTY chair and we know he will have a huge impact on the success of the competition. To be able to put your dishes in front of a chef that has achieved as much as Matt has will be a huge honour for everyone who enters.”

Over the last few weeks, Matt has been working with David to create the brief for this year’s competition which they hope will entice some of the top chefs in the UK and Ireland to enter when the competition launches.

Abé said: “With Gordon being a former National Chef of the Year winner and having judged it previously myself, I know it’s a competition that is very much on most chef’s radar. I’m so proud to be the new chair of judges and see what I can bring to the event. I want to push new things and continue to grow this amazing competition, celebrating the incredible talent that we have in the UK.”

The Young National Chef of the Year competition will launch later this year and previous winners of other chef competitions will be invited to enter. 

Bateman added: “I absolutely love these competitions and so this is a real honour for me to lead the judging process for Young National Chef of the Year. Nurturing young talent is something I am extremely passionate about and having chaired the Graduate Awards previously it seems the right next step to take to follow and support these young chefs’ journeys.”

More information about both of these competitions can be found at: