M Restaurants and Bookatable by Michelin have kicked off the third Young Chef of the Year competition, beginning their quest once more to unearth the UK’s finest culinary rising star and crown the winner, Young Chef of the Year 2019.
In the looming shadow of Brexit, M recognises that now more than ever is the time to celebrate young talent and bolster morale in the hospitality sector as staff shortages continue to rise, and the industry faces some of its toughest challenges yet with approximately 20,000 chefs leaving the industry year on year. This year the competition will also address another pressing matter with marks awarded to chefs for their sustainable sourcing of ingredients and resourceful handling of food waste.
To enter, aspiring young chefs under the age of 30 must submit a four-course menu priced at £45 per head, which not only represents their unique personality and style, but also demonstrates a zerowaste philosophy and an ethical sourcing of produce. The top 50 entrants will then be invited to present their signature dish of the menu to a judging panel of notable names in the industry. The London heats will be held on 15 May at M Victoria and northern heats will be held at Gaucho Manchester/Edinburgh on 22 May.
Thereafter 15 chefs will be selected to host their very own pop-up restaurant one evening in July at M Victoria St. Each contestant will cook their menu to be served in M RAW, the 40-cover restaurant which will be theirs for the night. Alongside M’s Culinary Director, Michael Reid and M Founder and CEO, Martin Williams, the line-up of judges will include chefs Adam Handling and James Knappett; social media influencer Felicity Spector and journalists David Ellis and Chris Gamm. Each night a member of the original judging panel will be present to score the young chef, and this will form 50% of their final score. The remaining 50% will be awarded by the paying diners, marked using the same criteria.
On 27 July, the concluding evening of the competition, M will host an exclusive evening with The Clink Charity whereby graduates from The Clink programme will have the unique opportunity to run both the kitchen and service of the restaurant. Whilst separate to the competition itself, the evening will continue to showcase M’s fundamental values; supporting the industry from the bottom up and celebrating emerging talent wherever it lies. The price of the menu will remain the same as the previous pop-ups, but this time all the profits will be donated to the Clink.
On 4th September the Young Chef of the Year will be crowned in an awards ceremony held at M Victoria and will receive a trip with sponsors Pommery to the Champagne region of France to explore their vineyards. Additional prizes will be presented for the Runner Up, Most Sustainable Menu and the Best Marketing Campaign.
M Founder and CEO Martin Williams said: “The Young Chef of the Year competition is unique in so far as it develops the UK’s top culinary talent in business, marketing and of course culinary skill. I am delighted that we enter this third year with amazing partners- let the search for the UK’s best chefs begin!”
Bookatable’s CEO Michel Cassius said: “We’re delighted to be working with M Restaurants again to find the UK’s brightest new chef. Bookatable is passionate about delivering memorable dining experiences and helping to identify the next wave of talent is crucial to that.”