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Search is On for UK's Best Young Seafood Chef

17 March 2016

UK - The quest to find the next generation of top culinary talent is back for another year with entries for the prestigious UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year 2016 competition open until Thursday 31 March.

Now in its seventeenth year, the only seafood competition of its kind is open to full-time, college based modern apprentice chefs across the UK, under the age of 25.

The event is highly regarded across the industry for the valuable experience it allows contestants to gain and for the calibre of judges it attracts. The 2016 panel includes some of the most prominent and well-known chefs in the UK today.

Cyrus Todiwala, famed for his Pan-Asian cuisine, has recently announced his involvement alongside celebrity barbeque chef, Ben Bartlett, noted authority on Italian food, Valentina Harris, and gastronomic genius, Franck Pontais. Serge Nollent, executive development chef at Young’s and Nikki Hawkins, events manager at Seafish will also be putting the contestants through their paces.

This year’s star-studded judging panel will be looking for talented young chefs capable of demonstrating flair, skill, ability and understanding when it comes to preparing and cooking with seafood from sustainable sources.

Competition organisers, Seafish and the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education (GIFHE), are encouraging catering colleges and their budding student chefs to enter in teams of two by downloading an application pack and submitting it for consideration by 31 March.

There is a host of fantastic prizes up for grabs including £500 for each team member, a unique Thermomix TM31 food processor and a £1,000 voucher for the winning college to spend on Russums catering equipment.

Teams are challenged with submitting a creative three course menu by post using the species outlined in the competition rules, in preparation for the paper judging to take place ahead of the regional heats.

Those selected for the regional heats to be held in Birmingham, Llandrillo and Paisley this May, will be required to cook their menu for the six judges within a three hour timeframe.

The winners from each region will then go through to the final on 10 June in Grimsby, where they will be asked to create a new three course meal using species specifically chosen for them.

Ben Bartlett, celebrity barbeque chef and judge at this year’s Young Seafood Chef competition, said: “For me, the UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition is an excellent platform for young chefs to showcase their talent and receive valuable feedback from industry experts. This type of exposure gives students a great advantage and stands them in good stead as they set out in their careers.

“I’m a big believer in encouraging culinary talent. We’ve found some fantastic young chefs through past competitions who have gone on to do great things. I’d encourage all student chefs to enter the competition and make the most of such a fantastic opportunity.”

Glyn Jacklin, Chef Lecturer, University College Birmingham, winners of the 2015 competition added: “The competition is, in my mind, one of the best organised and valued competitions around. Every year, we have students who ask to be entered primarily because they are aware of its status and how it can help them in their future careers.

“Importantly, it promotes the use of sustainability better than other competition and attracts competitors from all over the country. The competition also provides a learning curve for the lecturers involved through the industry trips that are organised. UCB will continue to support this great competition for years to come.”

Yannick Lequitte, Chef Lecturer, Kendal College, said: “The experience you gain at Young Seafood Chef stays with you forever, you learn so much. The ways in which you develop throughout the competition, both as a team and individuals, is unforgettable. It has been great for Kendal College students and tutors to take part in such a high profile competition – having won it twice is such an achievement.”

The 2016 UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition is sponsored by Seafish, Young’s, Thermomix, Russums, Oak Ridge Group, Royal Greenland and Wild Atlantic Prawns.

In recent years, the competition has enjoyed support from top UK chefs, including Jean-Christophe Novelli, Tom Aitkens, Mitch Tonks and Atul Kochhar.

To find out more about the competition or to submit an entry, please visit

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