News: Finalists announced for 2018 South West Chef of the Year

The finalists for this year’s South West Chef of the Year competition have been chosen and now face the toughest challenge yet – to prepare their dishes for a daunting line-up of judges on 24th October at Exeter College.

Martin Baylis semifinal starter

The finalists have been selected from eight semi-finalists in the Professional and Young Professional categories and ten in the Student/Apprentice Chef category.  The finalists will be cooking a three-course menu using compulsory ingredients revealed just one week in advance, as well as a mystery box of ingredients supplied just 30 minutes before the final begins.

Chefs judging the three competition finals include Michael Caines (Lympstone Manor, Lympstone); Stephane Delourme (The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow); Peter Gorton (Gorton’s Hospitality Academy, Plymouth); Neil Haydock (Watergate Bay Hotel, Newquay); Hywel Jones (Lucknam Park, Bath); Matt Mason (The Jack in the Green, Rockbeare); Scott Paton (The Horn of Plenty, Gulworthy); Chris Tanner and James Tanner (Barbican Kitchen and Kentish Hare) and Seth Ward (Bidfood).

Six Junior Chef finalists (aged 11-16) have been selected from the semi-final heats held in each of the six counties of the South West. The winners of each of the county heats will meet each other at the final cook-off on 6th October at Ashburton Cookery School. On the same day, four finalists cooking for the title of Home Cook winner will be producing their planned two-course menu for the judges.

South West Chef of the Year Co-founder and head judge Michael Caines MBE said: “The judges were hugely impressed by the contestants’ passion for cooking and their knowledge of south-west produce.  Their menus were based on protein ingredients of the highest quality that was very kindly supplied by Flying Fish Seafood and MC Kelly.  Competitors prepared some fantastic dishes, showcasing these ingredients perfectly and making it very difficult to choose the finalists. We wish them all the best of luck for the finals.”

Alex Greene 4

The winners of each of the categories and the overall winner will be announced at a special celebration Awards evening at Exeter Golf and Country Club on Wednesday 24th October. The Awards evening includes a unique three-course dinner prepared by three top chefs, all previous winners of the competition, using locally produced ingredients. The Awards evening is open to anyone to attend, tickets are on sale at

Finalists in each of the categories are:

Professional Category Finalists

Sponsored by Ritter Courivaud

  • Fraser Bruce, Head Chef, Tate St Ives, Cornwall
  • James Checkley, Sous Chef, Kentisbury Grange, Barnstaple, Devon
  • Alex Greene, Sous Chef, Lucknam Park, Bath
  • Tim Kendall, Sous Chef, The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

Young Professional Category Finalists

Sponsored by Caterpeople

  • Josh Ambridge, Chef de Partie, Lords of the Manor, Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire
  • Martin Baylis, Junior Sous Chef, Kentisbury Grange, Barnstaple, Devon
  • Gercelynn Mae Dionio, Demi Chef de Partie, Lucknam Park, Bath
  • Joseph Oliver, Chef de Partie, Buckland Manor, Broadway, Gloucestershire

Student/Apprentice Chef Category Finalists

Sponsored by Nisbets Catering Equipment

  • Andrei Jurma, Truro and Penwith College and The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor
  • Sophie Kennard, Exeter College and The Swan, Bampton
  • Charlie Walters, Cornwall College, Saltash
  • Connor Wright, Truro and Penwith College and The Bakehouse, Penzance

Home Cook Category Finalists

Sponsored by Ashburton Cookery School

  • Diana Bellinger, Sidmouth, Devon
  • Oonagh Egerton, Salisbury, Wiltshire
  • Lucinda Ellicott, Paignton, Devon
  • Kelly Shannon, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

Junior Chef Category Finalists

Sponsored by Michael Caines MBE and Lympstone Manor

  • Cornwall

Jorgia – Callington Community College

  • Devon

Samantha – Stover School, Newton Abbot

  • Dorset

Katie – The Gryphon School, Sherborne

  • Gloucestershire

Eva – Maidenhill School, Stonehouse

  • Somerset

Conor – Whitstone School, Shepton Mallet

  • Wiltshire

Rhys – Wellington Academy, Tidworth


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