For 2020, the Craft Guild of Chefs has introduced a new age limit to its Kitchen and Pastry Graduate Awards to reflect industry trends. The Guild recognises that many chefs are starting their culinary careers slightly later due to the national changes to school leaver options and chefs preferring to gain workplace experience before entering awards and competitions. To give more young chefs the opportunity to get involved and pass this exam, the organisers have extended the age limit to 25.
Entry is now open for the 2020 Awards with chefs having the option of participating in either the Kitchen or Pastry Exam. Both awards involve chefs completing a series of culinary challenges in front of an impressive panel of industry experts. Those who make the final exam will be taken on a culinary trip to Surrey, Sussex and the South Coast where they will visit local suppliers, watch a series of masterclasses and enjoy an overnight stay and dinner. It provides the chefs with the opportunity to prepare for the final exam whilst getting to know like-minded peers in a relaxed environment.
Chefs simply need to complete a short entry form and confirm who their mentor will be to enter the Graduate Awards. Head chefs are encouraged to support their young chefs by recommending them for this award as it can drive skills up in kitchens and help with staff retention. The entry form is available at https://craftguildofchefs.org/competitions/graduate-awards and must be completed by Friday 3rd April 2020.
Steve Munkley, Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “It’s important that awards like this are meeting the needs of young chefs and since the changes to the school system post-16 we’ve seen that some chefs are starting culinary training a few years later. This new age limit of 25 will give more chefs the opportunity to get involved and we hope to see some chefs who have come very close to making the grade in the past give it another go. Senior chefs have told me that the Graduate Awards helps retain staff for longer as young chefs value the support of their mentor throughout the process. This makes events like this absolutely key during a time when retaining young talent is becoming an increasing challenge.”
Russell Bateman will continue his role as Chair of Examiners for 2020 and he added: “Every year I encourage dedicated young members of my team to get involved with the Graduate Awards. As a mentor, I see them grow both personally and professionally during the process. I think the move to increase the upper age limit shows how these awards are constantly being tweaked and adapted to meet industry demand. That’s why every year they go from strength to strength and we find the UK’s most impressive young talent.”
Will Torrent will lead the examiners in the Pastry Graduate Award, and he commented: “It’s good to be back at the helm of the 2020 Pastry exam. Last year the standard was fantastic, and I introduced some amazing fellow judges to the competition who could offer so much expertise and encouragement to chefs in the early stages of their career. Pastry chefs from across the UK should be entering these awards and showing the hospitality industry how special the pastry sector is.”
You can follow all the Graduate Awards action on social media using the hashtag #CGCGradAwards.