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The National Chef of the Year Competition

Culinary Innovations are proud sponsors of the National Chef of the Year competition held each year at The Restaurant Show in October.

National Chef of the Year LogoThe 2013 competition saw eight finalists use FusionChef Pearl circulators exclusively supplied by Culinary Innovations to produce a range of dishes, including the winning menu by Hayden Groves of BaxterStorey to produce his Soused Cornish mackerel, clams and passion fruit; Rib eye of beef, pithivier, girolles, and roasted Jerusalem artichokes; and 'Blackberry and apple' caramelised white chocolate.  The finalist were also privy to an exclusive master class by Chairman of the Judges Phil Howard and 2012 winner Alyn Williams at Unilever head offices where they learned their mystery basket of ingredients and suggestions were made as to how to use their water baths in the final.

The NCOTY is like no other competition in terms of level of work and desire to give the highest calibre of competitors a great experience.  Culinary Innovations is committed to providing valuable sponsorship and to give further good cause for conversation, debate and exchanges of views in modern techniques, especially on sous vide cookery.  Our sponsorship of this event has been a real positive step in an ever changing industry where evolution and innovation are an ongoing part of the Industry.



2013 Winner - Hayden GrovesNational Chef of the Year Winner 2013

Hayden Groves, follows in the illustrious footsteps of chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sargeant and Simon Hulstone.  In his Award Ceremony speech Hayden was quick to praise the support from his “wing man”, commis chef Peter Ley, and his family. Hayden says "“The win still needs to sink in.  I have a few thanks including my great wing man and my family who have stood by me for the past four years. My girls will be glad that they have a happy daddy coming home from work today.”

Hayden used his FusionChef circulated water bath to cook his rib eye centre muscle at 50° C with trimmed fat, seasoning garlic and thyme.  The rib eye was in the water bath for approximately 1hour before being finished in foaming butter for 2 minutes each side and rested for 5 minutes. 

Runners up were Simon Webb, Head Chef at contract caterer CH & Co., and Andrew Wright, Sous Chef at Restaurant 23 in Leamington Spa.

By winning the competition, Hayden receives prizes that include an exclusive study trip to a three-starred Michelin restaurant in France, as well as a second study trip to Norway, master classes and specialist products and equipment.  Hayden who takes over from 2012 winner Alyn Williams can expect a raised profile within the Industry. 



The Judging Panel & Mentor Day

National Chef of the Year Mentor Day

The judging panel for the 2013 competition included Craft Guild vice president and competition organiser David Mulcahy, chairman of judges Phil Howard, Monica Galetti, Angela Hartnett, Vivek Singh, Bruce Poole, Simon Hulstone, Gary Jones, Graham Hornigold, Paul Gayler, Gary Hunter, Henry Harris and Craft Guild vice chairman Lee Maycock.  

After the competition David Mulcahy said that “The standard was absolutely top notch this year, which I believe was helped by the Mentor Day we held prior to the final.  The Mentor Day Day gave our eight contenders the chance to view ingredients and meet sponsors, bolstered by an inspirational talk and master class from Michelin-starred restaurant chefs Philip Howard, and Alyn Williams a previous winner of the National Chef of the Year. Hayden who has been a competitor in previous years was outstanding this year, although it was a very close competition right up until the end even in the judges’ room. Hayden’s determination should be a motivation for all chefs to come forward and compete including our other finalists.”  Phil Howard added: “We were looking for seasonality, good sourcing and a well balanced menu, and Hayden delivered this to a ‘T’ and absolutely deserves the most prestigious title in the industry. By becoming National Chef of the Year, he is definitely one to watch.” 


Competitors Briefing



Other Competitors

Five other outstanding chefs made it through to the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year 2013 final.

They were:  

  • Russell Bateman, Head Chef, Colette’s Restaurant, Hertfordshire
  • Alex Bond, Head Chef, Turners Restaurant, Birmingham
  • David Bush, Senior Chef de Partie, House of Commons
  • Lahiru Jayasekara, Head Chef, The Manor, Weston-on-the-Green, Bicester
  • Joe McCafferty, Head Chef, Bone Daddies Flesh & Buns, London

More information about this competition can be found at