THE quest to find the next generation of top culinary talent is back for another year with entries for the prestigious UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year 2016 competition open until Thursday, March 31.
Now in its 17th year, the only seafood competition of its kind is open to full-time, college based Modern Apprentice chefs across the UK, under the age of 25.
The event is highly regarded across the industry for the valuable experience it allows contestants to gain and for the calibre of judges it attracts.
The 2016 panel includes some of the most prominent and well-known chefs in the UK today.
Cyrus Todiwala, famed for his Pan-Asian cuisine, has recently announced his involvement alongside celebrity barbeque chef Ben Bartlett, a noted authority on Italian food, Valentina Harris, and gastronomic genius Franck Pontais.
Serge Nollent, executive development chef at Young’s and Nikki Hawkins, events manager at Seafish, will also be putting the contestants through their paces.
This year’s judging panel will be looking for talented young chefs capable of demonstrating flair, skill, ability and understanding when it comes to preparing and cooking with seafood from sustainable sources.
Competition organisers Seafish and the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education (GIFHE) are encouraging catering colleges and their budding student chefs to enter in teams of two.
Prizes include £500 for each team member, a unique Thermomix TM31 food processor and a £1,000 voucher for the winning college to spend on Russums catering equipment.
Teams are challenged with submitting a creative three-course menu by post, using the species outlined in the competition rules, in preparation for the paper judging to take place ahead of the regional heats, to be held in Birmingham, Llandrillo and Paisley this May.
Here, the candidates will be required to cook their menu for the six judges within a three hour timeframe.
The winners from each region will then go through to the final on June 10 in Grimsby, where they will be asked to create a new three-course meal using species specifically chosen for them.
Judge Ben Bartlett said: ‘For me, the UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition is an excellent platform for young chefs to showcase their talent and receive valuable feedback from industry experts.
‘This type of exposure gives students a great advantage and stands them in good stead as they set out in their careers.
‘I’m a big believer in encouraging culinary talent. We’ve found some fantastic young chefs through past competitions who have gone on to do great things.
‘I’d encourage all student chefs to enter the competition and make the most of such a fantastic opportunity.’