Skip to main content

The kitchen heat took place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London with the pastry heat being completed at Lakefield Hospitality College.

Steve Munkley, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “Young chefs were looking for activities to remain focused and engaged during lockdown and the preparation for this exam gave them a real drive to keep going.

“We sent out the criteria back in June and support was offered to chefs to help them practise these skills. The hard work paid off for the chefs and they must celebrate this achievement. Seeing the semi-finals run so smoothly made all the effort ensuring that these awards could go ahead so worthwhile.”

The chefs taking part in the Kitchen final exam are:

  • Emma Louise Ryder, demi chef, RAF Club
  • Faye Natalie De Souza, junior sous chef, Restaurant Associates
  • Lorenzo di Stefano, chef de partie, The French House
  • Robert McCreeyBreen, chef de partie, The Royal Household
  • Ben Dullea, apprentice chef
  • Connor Anthony Bird, chef de partie, House of Commons
  • Stephen Mark Naylor, senior chef de partie, Restaurant Story
  • Jonathon Smith, demi chef de partie, Roux at Parliament Square

Making the grade and completing the Pastry final exam are:

  • Katherine Altham, pastry chef, Roundthorn Country House
  • Lillian Savage, demi chef de partie, The Royal Household
  • Ranna Ameer, demi chef de partie, St James Hotel and Club
  • Tiziana Russo, pastry chef, Aviator by Tag

The Graduate Awards were founded in 2002 and are aimed at chefs who have completed their basic culinary qualifications who want to push their skills further. For 2020, the Graduate Awards age range was extended to 25-years-old.

During the semi-finals chefs had to complete practical challenges and a short multiple-choice paper.

Russell Bateman, chair of examiners for the Kitchen Graduate Award, commented: “The semi-finals gave these chefs the opportunity to show us how they had been developing their skills during lockdown.

“The standard of cooking was high, and we are delighted to have eight talented chefs going forward to the final exam. With hospitality facing its toughest time, to see these young chefs with so much energy and determination to succeed was really inspiring for all the judges.”

Over the coming months, the finalists will be given the opportunity to get involved in a virtual mentor experience. This will help them prepare for the final exam, which is regarded as one of the most challenging events for young chefs. To achieve the Graduate Award, chefs must achieve the pass mark of 85%.

Will Torrent, chair of pastry examiners, added: “In the semi-finals, the chefs had to create a number of pastry dishes which included a Tarte Tatin, Palmiers, Gateaux St. Honoré and Travel Cakes. The chefs were also assessed on their work processes including health and safety and wastage.

“Each chef was asked to present a portfolio of their work including recipes and reasoning for their choices of flavours and textures. I am delighted to be taking four chefs through to the final exam as every year you see how much each person has grown throughout this process. Ultimately, that’s what this event is all about.”

You can follow all the Graduate Awards action on social media using the hashtag #CGCGradAwards.


Latest Graduate Awards News

07th Oct 2020

Twelve chefs heading to Graduate Awards 2020 final

By: Edward Waddell
The kitchen heat recently took place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London with the pastry heat being completed at Lakefield Hospitality College. Steve Munkley, vice-president of the Craft Guild of

05th Aug 2020

Plans progressing well for the Graduate Awards 2020

By: Edward Waddell
Munkley was determined to ensure young chefs have the opportunity to develop their skills and promote their talent, despite the setbacks caused by Covid-19. He said: “Since March, the hospitality

16th Sep 2019

Craft Guild celebrates seven young graduates

By: Edward Waddell
Regarded as ‘one of the hardest skills tests in the industry’, a total of 15 chefs undertook the final kitchen or pastry exams - after completing an online entry form and regional heats. To join the

More Graduate Awards News

28th Jan 2019
Since launching in 2002, we have thus far seen 69 chefs pass the Graduate Award with former achievers going on to win Young...
03rd Sep 2018
Regarded as one of the hardest skills tests in the industry, a total 14 chefs undertook the final kitchen or pastry exams -...
24th Aug 2018
Launched a few years ago by organiser Steve Munkley, the mentor day brings finalists together to watch masterclasses, meet...
30th May 2018
Of the 60 entrants, 24 were invited to cook in the London or Sheffield heat last week (23 May), and all currently work in...
11th May 2018
Open to chefs aged 23 and under, the Kitchen and Pastry Graduate examinations were founded by Craft Guild Vice-President...
29th Mar 2018
Created to “provide formal recognition of young chefs’s culinary excellence,” the Graduate Awards are open to chefs under the...
24th Jan 2018
Founded by executive chef at The Royal Garden Hotel, Steve Munkley in 2002, the culinary awards look for young chefs (aged 23...
12th Jan 2018
After undergoing a series of tests in the full day graduate examinations held at University College Birmingham, five chefs...
26th May 2017
The heats will take place on Thursday 15th June at the University of West London and Sheffield College. During this stage...
27th Jan 2014
Successful candidates will have to pass a number of culinary challenges in a high-pressured environment. Those that reach the...