Skip to main content

Craft Guild of Chefs reveals ten finalists for YNCOTY competition

The Craft Guild of Chefs has revealed the names of the ten chefs who will compete in the Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) final.

The young chefs, who work in hotels and restaurants across the UK, discovered they reached the final when they received a YNCOTY branded jacket from Continental Chef Supplies (CCS), as well as a gift box from competition partner Knorr Professional.

To impress the judges and take a finalist spot the chefs had to create a three-course menu which centred around ‘British themed dishes’ with a twist. The ten chefs will replicate these dishes during the final which will be later screened for the industry to watch on Thursday 21 October 2021, when the winner will also be announced.

For the starter chefs will create a modern vegetarian or vegan version of a classic Scotch broth. The main course will be a take on a classic British Fish and Chips using a prime fillet of haddock or cod from Seafood from Norway. Judges have asked for an interpretation of the classic crumble using seasonal fruits for dessert.

YNCOTY chair of judges Hrishikesh Desai said: “When we put the criteria together entitled 'British theme with a twist' we didn't know what to expect. Having scrutinised all the entries with my fellow judges, we unanimously agreed that the ten finalists who are going to battle for the title had put in huge amounts of effort, thought outside the box and made judging very difficult.

“We can’t wait to meet them on the mentor day as it’s going to be one hell of a competition this year. I personally think this will go down to the wire because all the finalists are incredibly talented chefs who are working with equally talented mentors.”

The ten YNCOTY finalists include:

  • Matt Nicholls, sous chef, Cheal's of Henley, Warwickshire
  • Daniel Cornish, senior chef de partie, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • Bethany Disley-Jones, junior sous pastry, The Art School Restaurant
  • Stephen Naylor, junior sous chef, Restaurant Story, London
  • Joshua Rooney, chef de partie, Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Cornwall
  • Keaton Cooper, commis chef, The Angel at Hetton, Skipton
  • Robert McCreeryBreen, chef de partie, Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Cornwall
  • Sagar Massey, sous chef, Mar Hall Hotel, Gold and Spa Resort, Bishopton
  • Ieuan Andrew Davies, chef de partie, Castle Inn, Wiltshire
  • Owen Connell, chef de partie, Träkol restaurant By the River Brew Co, Hillgate Quays, Newcastle

Organiser of Young National Chef of the Year and food innovation & sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, David Mulcahy added: “It’s been another tough year for our industry, but YNCOTY is a true success-story to come out of it.

“These finalists have all risen to the challenge and created stunning menus that really reflect the theme of British classics with a twist. Every year we celebrate the young talent that’s coming up through the industry and see these stars go on to achieve incredible things, taking their learnings and growth through the competition with them to the next stage of their careers.”

The Young National Chef of the Year is run in partnership with Knorr Professional and is supported by Churchill, HIT Training, Seafood from Norway, Quorn and Le Cordon Bleu. You can follow the competition on social media using #YNCOTY.

Latest Young National Chef of the Year News

15th Jul 2021

Chefs challenged to twist ‘Best of British’ in YNCOTY

By: Edward Waddell
The criteria for the three courses centres around ‘British themed dishes’ with a twist. Here, the ‘sky is the limit’ for a chef’s imagination without losing sight of the classic element. Candidates

30th Sep 2020

Edwin Kuk wins Young National Chef of the Year final

By: Edward Waddell
The focus for this year’s competition was on sustainability and chefs had to incorporate ingredients from the Knorr Future 50 Foods list. Kuk served a starter of velouté of Wirral watercress and

More Young National Chef of the Year News

05th Jun 2020
Due to the ongoing situation with Covid19, the selection process has had to be tweaked for this year. Rather than some of the...
09th Oct 2019
The ten finalists were asked to create two different vegetarian or vegan canapés for the starter and a Norwegian cod main...
05th Apr 2019
Desai, who won the National Chef of the Year title in 2010, said: “The Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year...
05th Apr 2019
As part of the launch, the Guild has also named a new ambassador for this year, with former National Chef of the Year winner...
03rd Oct 2018
Judged by 21 of the UK’s leading chefs, the panel, once again overseen by Gary Jones (executive chef of Belmond Le Manoir aux...
03rd Oct 2018
Judged by 21 of the UK’s leading chefs, the panel, once again overseen by Gary Jones (executive chef of Belmond Le Manoir aux...
03rd Oct 2018
Judged by 21 of the UK’s leading chefs, the panel, once again overseen by Gary Jones (executive chef of Belmond Le Manoir aux...
20th Jun 2018
Described by competition organiser, David Mulcahy as a ‘phenomenal day,’ he praised the chefs for making this year’s heats...
20th Jun 2018
Described by competition organiser, David Mulcahy as a ‘phenomenal day,’ he praised the chefs for making this year’s heats...
25th May 2018
Having gone head-to-head against the six other finalists, 23 year-old Gabriel impressed judges with his “dogged determination...