The shortlist to become National Chef of the Year has been cut from 40 to ten following the conclusion of heats.
The remaining participants will now do battle at The Restaurant Show in London on October 1 as they aim to take the top prize.
The 40 semi-finalists each competed in one of four heats, with the winners automatically qualifying for the final and the remaining places taken by those with the next best scores across all four heats.
The ten candidates to make it through to the final are:
- Mark Billings, sous chef at Prestwold Hall (heat winner)
- Fraser Bruce, head chef at the Halsetown Inn (heat winner)
- Mehdi Lahmadi, junior sous chef at Coworth Park (heat winner)
- Steve Groves, head chef from Roux at Parliament Square (heat winner)
- Nick Edgar, head chef at the Ryebeck hotel
- Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle
- Ben Boeynaems, head chef at the Zetter hotel, London
- Harry Kirkpatrick, sous chef, Trinity Restaurant, London
- Karl O’Dell, head chef at Texture London
- Nick Smith, head chef at Vacherin
The judging panel is this year being chaired by Gary Jones, executive chef at Oxfordshire restaurant Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and he has been impressed with the calibre of chefs.
He said: “We’ve seen some really innovative dishes this year and a huge variety in the methods and styles of cooking. I think one of the main reasons for this is the tweak we made to the brief where one element could be cooked in advance. Chefs have truly risen to this challenge, with some incredible flavours being served, as it’s a more familiar way of cooking for them.
“For the 10 finalists, my advice is don’t waste this opportunity, put everything you’ve got into it, as only one chef will walk away as the winner. The final will be a huge learning curve in each chef’s personal development and I wish them all the best of luck.”
David Mulcahy, who organises the competition, added: “With just over 100 entries in this year’s competition it’s exciting for us to discover the new top 10 in the running for the 2020 title.”
The award has seen many high-profile winners in the past, including Gordon Ramsay, who was victorious in 1992 and Russell Bateman who took home the prize in 2014.