The knives will come out in July as chefs from various Fuller’s pubs will come together to put their cooking skills to the test in Fuller’s Chef of the Year competition.
Fuller's Chef of the Year started in 2016 and is an annual a cooking competition open to chefs from Fuller's pubs. Entrants are given the opportunity to showcase their skills and passion for cooking while they vie for the prestigious title of Fuller's Chef of the Year.
In the heats held on 26 March 2019, competitors from the three categories (24 years and under, over 25 years, and college students) underwent a skills challenge where they had 10 minutes to complete a cooking task. The chefs then had 40 minutes to prepare one signature dish of their own choosing – either a starter, main or pudding.
Competitors were judged on their techniques, flavour and execution, by an experienced judging panel, including Roux Scholar Matthew Tomkinson, Food Blogger David Williams, Michelin Star Chef Russell Brown and Josh Green BPBA.
From the 45 chefs that entered, up to eight from each category were selected to compete in the grand final in July. The winners will be flown to Hong Kong to work in Simon Rogan’s new restaurant.
The finalists are:
Over 25 years’ category
Kon Dyugay,The Tap on the Line, Kew Gardens Station
Charlie Kipping, The Grove Lock, Leighton Buzzard
Daniel Birjaru, The Hampshire Hog, Clanfield
Andrew Kingshott, The Links Tavern, Liphook
Luke Emmess, The Still & West, Portsmouth
David Green, The White Hart, Stockbridge
Rafael Tigalo, The Drayton Court Hotel, Ealing
Ricky Farmer, The Ship, Langstone
24 years and under category:
Joshua Hillyard, The Cams Mill, Fareham
Lewis McGarr, The Links Tavern, Liphook
Megan Davies, The White Hart, Stockbridge
Darragh Ryan, The Wykeham Arms, Winchester
Shey Odysanwo, The Signal Box, Euston
Thomas Featherstone, The Signal Box, Euston
This year Fuller's opened the competition to students attending the colleges that Fuller's partners with for hosting its apprenticeship scheme training – offering chefs-in-training the opportunity to enter Fuller’s College Chef of the Year.
Fuller's Director of Food, Paul Dickinson, said: “I wanted to inspire and give insight to future talent, showing that they can have a creative career as a chef at Fuller’s. The winner of this category will also go to Hong Kong with the Fuller’s team.”
The finalists for the college category are:
Chloe Curry, Havant & South Downs College
Zoe Castle, Havant & South Downs College
Jonny Smith, Havant & South Downs College
Bayan Zuraki, The University of West London
Service Coach of the Year
Fuller's also has a category for Fuller's Service Coach of the Year, where finalists will serve the food and drinks at the Chef of the Year competition. The award recognises excellence in front of house service.
Fuller’s Service Coach of the Year Finalists are:
Lea Novak, The Sanctuary House Hotel
Niamh Jiggins, The Ship Inn Langstone
Sze Razak, Fuller's Ale & Pie House
Manuela Grassi, Cams Mill
Claudia Cruz, The Merchant
Gemma McNair, The Bat & Ball
Sammy Hardman, The Pilot Chiswick
Chloe Field, The Wykeham Arms
Paul said: “They have been on a long journey and while there can only be one winner, I'm very proud of everyone who took part, came through, developed and contributed. I wish all the finalists the best of luck.”
The grand final will be held at Havant & South Downs College in Hampshire on 9 July.
See highlights from the Chef of the Year 2019 heats in the video below.
Last year’s winner was Andy Bunting, Sous Chef of The Wykeham Arms in Winchester. Read more: Chef of the Year 2018.
Fuller’s Chef Apprenticeships
Fuller’s is recruiting talented and passionate people to take part in our Chef Apprenticeship Programmes and become our Head Chefs of the future.