Following two exciting rounds of heats held at West Herts College and Sheffield College, thirteen chefs will be cooking in the final exam of the Graduate Awards in September. In the cook-offs, chefs completed a series of practical challenges including an innovative starter using Quorn. The exams were observed by former National Chef of the Year winner, Russell Bateman who heads up the Kitchen exam and the chief pastry examiner, Will Torrent. Over the coming months, finalists will be supported by the Graduate Awards committee who will be sharing mentoring videos and advice in the build-up to the exam. This is an event we are proud to sponsor, and we are rooting for all the finalists.

The Graduate Awards were founded in 2002 and are aimed at chefs aged under 25 who have completed their basic culinary qualifications and are wanting to push their skills further. It has helped chefs improve their skills and go on to compete in competitions such as Young National Chef of the Year as well as gain promotions and Michelin stars.

For 2021, the Kitchen Graduate Award finalists are:

  • Adem Eyyup Ali, apprentice Year 3 at The Ivy West Street            
  • Benjamin Peter Mabley, third year RACA apprentice at Hartwell House Hotel 
  • Charles Kenneth Knight, commis chef at the House of Commons                
  • George Baldwin-Edie, development chef for Marks and Spencer                 
  • Joshua Singer, CDP apprentice at Scotts                                    
  • Chris Lowe, junior sous chef at New Hall Hotel                 
  • Phillip Ho, commis chef at Chefs Academy             
  • Theo Hadjitofi, chef de partie at De Banke Group              
  • Faye DeSouza, chef at Skyview Suites Kitchen at Wimbledon Centre Court
  • Jonathan Smith, demi chef de partie at Gravetye Manor

The Pastry Graduate Award finalists are:

  • Beth Disley-Jones, pastry chef de partie, The Art School Restaurant
  • Natasha Stinchcombe, baker, Lockdown Loaves

For the first time, the final exam will include a mentor who will be on-hand to answer questions and support the young chefs throughout the experience. This role will be completed by Connor Godfrey, a former Graduate Awards Achiever who has also mentored some of his own team through the experience in recent years.

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

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