The semi-finalists for this year's National Chef of the Year competition have been announced.
For the first time in the 20-year history of the now annual competition, organiser the Craft Guild of Chefs has introduced categories to encourage more ethnically diverse cuisines to the event.
The semi-finalists have been selected through a paper judging process and will compete at four semi-final cook-offs at Westminster Kingsway College in London on 13 and 16 September, each concentrating on a different type of cuisine. The categories include Asian and Oriental; modern British and Irish; European; and African, American and Australian.
Ten chefs will go through to the final: the top two from each semi-final and the two chefs with the highest scores after that. The final cook-off will take place at this year's Restaurant Show at London's Earls Court on 11 October.
Simon Hulstone, chef-proprietor of the Michelin-starred Elephant in Torquay, Devon, was the last winner of the title in 2008.
Previous winners include Gordon Ramsay, Roger Narbett and Eyck Zimmer.
The finalists are:
Simon Atkinson, unit caterer, Royal Marines
Mark Aust, head chef, Artizan
Christopher Bell, head chef, Heathcotes
Adam Bennett, head chef, Simpsons restaurant
Lee Bennett, executive chef, Le Pont De La Tour
Ian Boden, area development chef, Wilsonvale
Mark Budd, executive head chef, Stafford hotel
David Bush, House of Commons
Brian Canale, head chef, Heritage Portfolio
Simon Christery-French, sous chef, Pearl Restaurant
Clark Crawley, head chef, Restaurant Associates
Hrishikesh Desai, brasserie head chef, Lucknam Park hotel
Richard Edwards, senior sous chef, Lucknam Park hotel
Frederick Forster, head chef, 44 Restaurant and Lounge
Justin Galea, executive sous chef, Turnberry
Chris James Golding, sous chef, Zuma restaurant
Hayden Groves, executive chef, Lloyds of London
Jim Hamilton, head chef, Fairyhill
Dean Heselden, head chef, London Clubs International
Imthiaz Kader, head chef, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge
Selin Kiazim, senior chef de partie, The Providores
Palash Mitra, curry chef, The Cinnamon Club
Robert Oberhoffer, chef-proprietor, The Dove restaurant
Christopher Oddie, head chef, Mitie Catering and The Irish Club
Grzegorz Olejarka, head chef, Brooklands hotel
Sudha Shankar, executive chef, Saffron
Hansel Sheldon Fonseca, sous chef, Gordon Ramsay Holdings
Kuldeep Singh, sous chef, Benares restaurant & bar
Ashley Spencer, lecturer in culinary arts, Westminster Kingsway College
Robert Stordy, corporate chef-lecturer, University of Derby (Buxton Campus)
Lionel Strub, chef-proprietor, Fennel Restaurant
Dez Turland, group development chef, Brend Hotels
Simon Webb, head chef, Restaurant Associates
Nick Whatmough, head chef, Restaurant Associates
Andy Wilcock, head chef, Cucina Restaurants
Andrew Wong, chef, Bumbles restaurant
Terry Wright, head chef, Compass Group
Vadivelloo Yogaeshwaran, sous chef, Riverbank Park Plaza hotel
- By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin KÁ¼hn here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs