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National chef of the year

Hayden, National Chef of the Year 2013

Hayden Groves the “one to watch” has become The National Chef of the Year 2013, run by the Craft Guild of Chefs, after impressing a tough judging panel including BBC Masterchef’s Monica Galetti.

Hayden Groves, executive chef at BaxterStorey, won the most prestigious award in the industry after producing a stunning array of dishes in a knock-out performance at yesterday’s live final at the Restaurant Show 2013 at London’s Earls Court.

Using seasonal ingredients from land and sea from a mystery basket, unveiled to this year’s eight finalists at an eye-opening mentor day prior to the final, the 39 year-old first produced:

  • Starter – Soused Cornish mackerel, clams, passion fruit
  • Main – Rib eye of beef, pithivier, girolles, roasted Jerusalem artichoke
  • Dessert – ‘Blackberry and apple’, caramelized white chocolate

The winning menu was judged by TV chef Monica, competition organiser and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs David Mulcahy, chairman of judges Philip Howard, ambassador and chef proprietor of Murano Angela Hartnett, and Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar.

Hayden Groves, who follows in the footsteps of celebrated chefs including Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt-Matthias, Mark Sargeant and Simon Hulstone, said: “The win still needs to sink in. I have a few thanks including my great wing man and my family who have stood by me for the past 4 years. My girls will be glad that they have a happy daddy coming home from work today!”

By winning the competition, considered the UK’s most prestigious culinary challenge and the competition aspiring chefs want to win, Hayden walked away with national acclaim and a haul of prizes, including an exclusive study trip at a 3-starred Michelin restaurant in France.

On top of this, he also wins a second study trip to Norway, master classes with industry greats and specialist chef’s products and equipment.

David Mulcahy said this year’s final was edge of your seat stuff. “The standard was absolutely top notch this year, which I believe was helped by the mentor day we held prior to the final,” he said. “The day gave our eight contenders the chance to view ingredients and meet sponsors, bolstered by an inspirational talk and masterclass from Michelin-starred chefs Philip Howard and Alyn Williams, a previous winner of The National Chef of the Year.

“Hayden who has been a competitor in previous years and who came in the top 3 last year was outstanding this year, although it was a very close competition right up until the end even in the judges’ room! Hayden’s determination should be a motivation for all chefs to come forward and compete including our other finalists.”

Philip Howard, chairman of judges and proprietor of the two Michelin-starred The Square Restaurant, added: “We were looking for seasonality, good sourcing and a well balanced menu, and Hayden delivered this to a ‘T’ and absolutely deserves the most prestigious title in the industry. By becoming The National Chef of the Year, he is definitely one to watch.”

The competition runners up were Simon Webb (head chef, CH&Co) and Andrew Wright, (sous chef, Restaurant 23, Leamington Spa).

Making it through the paper entry stage, 44 of the UK’s top chefs were this year selected to compete at a series of semi-finals in London and Sheffield in a bid to make the final eight.

This year’s competition was in partnership with Lockhart Catering Equipment and Knorr and in association with CCS, Blue Arrow, Churchill, Electrolux, RARE, Cocoa Barry, Culinary Innovations and New Covent Garden Market.

For more information on how to enter next year’s competition, visit or sign up to follow @TNCOTY on Twitter.

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