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Craft Guild of Chefs reveals Semi-Finalists for Kitchen & Pastry Graduate Awards

A record-breaking 36 chefs will be heading to the Graduate Awards Kitchen and Pastry semi-finals next month.

The heats will take place on 15 June at the University of West London and Sheffield College. During this stage, candidates will have to demonstrate their culinary skills in front of the Graduate examiners, led by former National Chef of the Year, Russell Bateman (pictured).

This year celebrates 15 years of the Graduate Awards, which were founded by Vice-President, Steve Munkley in 2002. He saw a real need in the industry for providing formal recognition of young chefs’ culinary excellence.

The Kitchen and Pastry Graduate examination is an Award for chefs aged 23 and under, to test and improve the skills which they have learnt at college and in their early careers, and take them to the next level. It has been known to accelerate a chef’s career with many previous Graduates going on to win national competitions and work in top restaurants around the world.

The final exam takes place at University College Birmingham on the 22nd August, with an anniversary lunch taking place at the Royal Garden Hotel on 11th September 2017.

Talking about this year’s award, Steve Munkley, executive head chef at the Royal Garden Hotel, said, “We moved the entry process online as we wanted to make it as easy as possible for chefs to be part of the event. Not only did we increase the number of entries but the establishments that chefs work at are some of the best in the UK.

'There were many high-quality entries which made it difficult to whittle the chefs down to just two heats but I’m confident we’re going to see some great chefs coming through with that certificate this year.”

Yolande Stanley, chair of pastry examiners, added, “This is only the second year of the Pastry Graduate Award and I’m delighted that we doubled the number of entries this year.

'It recognises the importance of putting pastry in the spotlight and gives these young chefs a platform to not only develop their skills but also get their names out into the wider industry. I’m looking forward to seeing how the chefs perform when we get them into the kitchen next month.”