South West Young Professional Chef of the Year 2018, Mae Dionio, successfully took the title of Young National Chef of the Year, staged by the Craft Guild of Chefs, on Monday 31st October 2022.
Mae, who was chef de partie at Lucknam Park, Bath, when she entered and won South West Young Professional Chef of the Year, is now chef de partie at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford.
The brief required chefs to prepare a starter focusing on eggs which also had to include at least three or more of the following Future 50 Foods; pumpkin, heritage root vegetables, watercress, beans, pulses, cereals or grains. They were asked to create a Provenҫal-inspired main course, using a choice of Norwegian haddock or cod fillet, and a dessert which was a modern interpretation of a classic puff pastry dessert.
Mae’s award-winning menu was:
Mayfield Hen’s egg with mushroom, lemongrass and ginger tea.
Confit salted Norwegian Cod with piquillo pepper, garden courgette, crispy salted cod and chorizo brandade and a shellfish sauce.
Apple tarte tatin with miso ice cream.
Second place was awarded to Theo Hadjitofi, chef de partie at De Banke Group, Solihull, and third place to Liam Rogers, sous chef at Gleneagles, Auchterarder.
Lisa Goodwin-Allen, chair of judges and executive chef at Northcote, said: “I am passionate about mentorship and love supporting and seeing young chefs develop their skills, so it has been an absolute honour to be chair of judges for Young National Chef of the Year.
“Mae really impressed me and the other judges today by creating three stunning plates of food that absolutely nailed the brief. The hospitality industry is challenging right now but days and events like this show the true talent that is out there and gives us confidence that the future is in great hands.”
The Craft Guild of Chefs also offers a senior category, National Chef of the Year, an award which celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year. The winner was Ben Murphy, chef patron at Launceston Place Restaurant, London. Matthew Smith, head chef at Inver Restaurant & Rooms, Strathlachlan, was the runner up and April Lily Partridge, sous chef at The Ledbury, London, was third.
Organiser of Young National Chef of the Year and food innovation & sustainability director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, David Mulcahy added: “Not only are we celebrating 50 years of our senior competition, but the young title also celebrates a decade this year.
“Since 2012 we have seen ten young winners go on to really make their mark in this industry including Luke Selby, Ruth Hansom and Danny Young. I am sure Mae will follow in their footsteps and has so many exciting opportunities to come in the next few years. She needs to grab each one with both hands as this is just the start of the journey.”