Eight young chefs will go head to head for the crown of Staffordshire’s Young Chef of the Year 2016 at Stafford College on Monday 4 July.
The final, which is organised by Staffordshire Chefs’ Forum and is supported by Taste of Stafford, will involve creating a three course meal for two which contestants submitted back in May.
The contestants, who are all aged 16 to 21, will have two hours to perfect their dishes in the professional kitchen of the £14 million Riverbank Building at Stafford College.
This year’s finalist are:
- Sorcha Burgess from Stafford College
- Ben Manifold from The Red Lion in Stafford
- Charlotte Fenney from The Orchard Dining in Stafford
- Rebecca Slater from Beacon Barracks in Stafford
- Finley Shapland from the Blenheim House Hotel in Etwall
- Alex Waldron from Whittingham Heath Golf Club in Lichfield
- Lewis O’Carroll from The Moat House in Acton Trussell
- Jack McGinley from The Three Horseshoes in Leek
The judging panel has been handpicked by the forum and is made up from catering experts from across the region.
The panel includes Eric Bruce, head judge and chef patron of Restaurant Severn in Longbridge, who has adjudicated for international and European competitions; Stuart McLeod director of Zuidam in Tewkesbury; Nathan Eades, head chef of Simpson’s in Birmingham; Jonathan Harvey-Barnes from Essential Cuisine and Masterchef professionals finalist 2013, Adam Handling.
There are three top prizes up for grabs. First place will win £150, a placement at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Simpson’s in Birmingham and a year’s membership of the British Culinary Federation.
The winning establishment which the young chef works for will also receive £500 worth of crockery from Churchill.
Second place will win £100 and a placement with the Lewis Partnership in Stafford and third will win £50.
There are also three new awards being added to event to increase competition between contestants for best starter, main and dessert.
Last year’s competition was won by Michael Blades from Swinfen Hall Hotel who also took home the Hygiene Award for best food safety.
Michael has built on his success since winning the award and is now working for Restaurant Sat Bains – a two-Michelin starred establishment based in Nottingham.
Ben Manifold and Charlotte Fenney, who finished second and third respectively last year, return to the competition for a second successive year to challenge again for the title.
Matt Davies, chairman of the Staffordshire Chefs’ Forum, said: “We’re now in the third year of this competition and each year we see an increase in the standard of entries as well as an increase in submissions.
“Due to the quality we’ve seen in this year’s entries, we’ve allowed two additional places in the final to make the contest our most competitive to date.”