Vacherin’s Smith crowned National Chef of the Year

In what has been described as the toughest National Chef of the Year event in the competition’s 48-year history, Nick Smith, head chef for Vacherin, was crowned as the winner after a tense virtual awards ceremony this afternoon. Watched by hundreds of the biggest names in the industry as part of Hospitality Week, the final was streamed from Le Cordon Bleu earlier in London.

His dishes truly stood out to chair of judges Paul Ainsworth who was supported by Clare Smyth, Claude Bosi and Graham Hornigold, and former winners Frederick Forster, Russell Bateman and Kuba Winkowski. Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle, came second, achieving a top three position for the third year running, with April-Lily Partridge, the highest female finisher in almost 50 years, taking third.

Ainsworth said: “We need winners like Nick to show the world what an amazing industry hospitality is, to encourage others to want to be chefs and to incentivise people to work hard to achieve their own personal dreams. His attention to detail when cooking and the passion he has shown throughout this competition has been incredible. You could see how much this title means to him and he is a really deserving winner.”

Edwin Kuk, junior sous chef at The Art School Restaurant in Liverpool, took the Young National Chef of the Year crown.