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.

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 were very kindly supplied by Flying Fish Seafood and M C 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.”

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

Jorgia – Callington Community College
Samantha – Stover School, Newton Abbot
Katie – The Gryphon School, Sherborne
Eva – Maidenhill School, Stonehouse
Conor – Whitstone School, Shepton Mallet
Rhys – Wellington Academy, Tidworth