Sam Dixon wins Young National Chef of the Year title
He took the top spot after a hotly contested final at the University of West London under close surveillance from the panel of judges. The runner-up spot was claimed by Nathan Johnson, junior sous chef at Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, with Jonny Smith, junior sous chef at Gravetye Manor, finishing in third place.
The winning menu was a starter of Norwegian cod, chicken skin, pickled mushroom, hen of the woods, smoked bacon using Seafood from Norway cod. Sam served up a main course of Aged Waterford Farm duck, glazed meatball, Ashcroft beetroot and for dessert a Manchester Tart.
Young National Chef of the Year is judged by some of the industry’s biggest names including chair of judges Lisa Goodwin-Allen, executive chef at Northcote.
After the difficult task of selecting the winner, she said: “From judging the semi-finals, I knew today would be a hard task as all the chefs have risen to the challenge. All the judges agreed that Sam really deserved this win as he created three absolutely delicious plates of food.
“I’ve loved my two-year role as chair of judges for a competition I’m extremely passionate about. It’s so important for me to play a part in mentoring, inspiring and retaining these culinary stars in our industry.”
Following in the footsteps of previous winners such as Mae Dionio, Luke Selby and Ben Champkin by gaining this prestigious title, Sam will also enjoy a host of incredible prizes. This includes:
- £3,000 from the Worshipful Company of Cooks to spend on culinary development
- An educational culinary trip of a lifetime to Norway hosted by Seafood from Norway to celebrate responsibly sourced seafood
- A product prize of £250 and a framed presentation plate from Churchill who will also be taking the winner on a gastronomic experience with previous winners
- A magnum of the popular Champagne Collet and membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs
- Sodiaal is also offering the young chef winner a trip to visit one of their farms in the Clermont-Ferrand region of France including a paragliding experience to discover the stunning scenery
David Mulcahy, YNCOTY competition director and food innovation & sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland added: “It’s important that the Craft Guild of Chefs invests in the young talent we have in our industry and this competition is so important for not only retaining but attracting talent. This is a competition that many chefs have their eye on from a young age and these rising stars get involved in other incredible industry competitions to have a shot at this title.
“You only need to look at the list of former winners to see what an incredible platform this competition provides. We are really looking forward to working with Sam over the next year and following his career which I’m sure is going to be full of success.”
The Young National Chef of the Year competition is supported by Churchill, HIT Training, Seafood from Norway and Sodiaal.