The Craft Guild of Chefs has announced that seven chefs have completed the 2017 Graduate Awards examination, with five chefs achieving the pass mark in the kitchen exam and two chefs in the pastry award.
Gilles Varone from Petrus Restaurant, Joe Payne from Andre Garrett Restaurant Cliveden House, Vince Vermeulen and William Keeble from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Lewis Kuciers from The Black Bull at Blidworth were revealed as the new kitchen graduates; Amy Rose Plumb from Titchwell Manor Hotel and Hannah Catley who works at Chiltern Firehouse were declared as pastry graduates.
The Graduate examination, which was held at University College Birmingham on 22 August, saw the kitchen finalists complete a paper exam, fishmongery and butchery skills tests, create classic recipes and prepare their own dish using a basket of mystery ingredients; the pastry graduates were asked to complete a series of challenges during a five-hour test before examiners.
To join the ‘Graduate Awards hall of fame’, the chefs, aged 23 or under, had to achieve a pass mark of 85%.
“The reason I created [the Graduate Awards in 2002] was to ensure that there was a channel for young chefs to develop the skills they have learnt at college and take them to the next level,” comments chef Steve Munkley.
“I always follow the careers of those who have achieved this award and have seen some go on to gain Michelin stars, win national awards, work in some of the world’s best restaurants and compete in worldwide competitions; this year alone, there are two former Graduates competing in the National Chef of the Year final which is incredible to see.”
“All the young chefs should be proud of what they achieved in the final and if they didn’t reach the pass mark, I hope to see them try again next year,” adds Russell Bateman, chair of examiners.
“It’s an award that develops skills and opens doors so I would encourage all chefs and mentors to get involved, as the opportunities are endless.”
Varone and Catley were named Highest Achievers, while Robert Tayler, head chef from The Compasses Inn was announced as the Mentor of the Year for his support of finalist, Deakin.
The results were announced at an awards lunch held at The Royal Garden Hotel in a celebration to mark fifteen years of the Graduate Awards.
Twenty-five former Graduate Award achievers were in attendance with the lunch being prepared by graduates, Richard Edwards, Mark Froydenlund and Selin Kiazim.