Seven chefs have made the grade in the Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards 2017, with five chefs achieving the pass mark in the kitchen exam and two chefs in the pastry exam.
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.
Chefs had to undertake a series of tests in the full day graduate examination held at University College Birmingham on 22 August.
Kitchen finalists completed a paper exam, fishmongery and butchery skills tests, created classic recipes and prepared their own dish using a basket of mystery ingredients.
To join the Graduate Awards hall of fame, the chefs, aged 23 or under, had to achieve a pass mark of 85%.
The pastry graduates were asked to complete a series of challenges during a five-hour test under the watchful eyes of the examiners, which included the 2016 Highest Achiever, Kacey Bignell.
Taking the title of Highest Achiever this year are Gilles Varone and Hannah Catley.
The results were announced at an awards lunch held at The Royal Garden Hotel in a special celebration to mark 15 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.
“It makes me feel extremely proud that today we are celebrating 15 years of the Graduate Awards,” says Graduate Awards founder Steve Munkley.
“The reason I created them 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.
“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.”
Robert Tayler, head chef from The Compasses Inn, was announced as the Mentor of the Year for his support of finalist, Jessica Deakin.