New top judges for National and Young National Chef of the Year competitions

Two new chairs of judges have been revealed by the Craft Guild of Chefs for this year’s National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) and Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) competitions.

Kenny Atkinson, chef patron at the Michelin-starred House of Tides in Newcastle will take over from Paul Ainsworth for this year’s NCOTY. He is a well-known face on TV from his appearances on BBC 2’s The Great British Menu, Saturday Morning with James Martin, Islands to Highlands, Saturday Kitchen, UKTV Food’s Market Kitchen and Sky TV’s Perfect series.

He said: “National Chef of the Year is a competition which I have both competed in and judged throughout my career, so to be the chair of judges is an absolute honour. When I think of the names that have judged this prestigious competition over the years it fills me with huge pride, and I have some big shoes to fill. NCOTY is an amazing competition for chefs of all levels to showcase their skills on a platform like no other. I’m looking forward to following the hard work that the previous judges have done to bring a new dynamic to this competition and to help showcase the amazing talent we have in this country.”

Meanwhile, Lisa Goodwin-Allen will take over from Hrishikesh Desai after his three-year stint as chair of judges for YNCOTY. Lisa is one of the most innovative and exciting chefs in the UK, having led the kitchen brigade at Northcote since the age of 23 as well as regularly appearing on TV.

She said: “It is a great honour to be chosen to be the new chair of this prestigious competition, which is very high acclaimed throughout the industry and I look forward to the challenge ahead. Over the next two years, I want to really inspire young chefs to look at the quality of ingredients and flavour and tell a story of who they are with their dishes.”

Kenny will lead the judges in the 50th year of NCOTY and planning for both of this year’s events is already underway with further details on the briefs to be revealed in the spring.

If you would like to be notified when entries open for National Chef of the Year, email enquiries@craftguildofchefs.orgor send a message via one of the Guild’s social channels.

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