Ben Murphy of London’s Launceston Place Wins National Chef of the Year

Chef patron of Launceston Place, Ben Murphy, beat 9 other finalists to win National Chef of the Year in front of top judges including Kenny Atkinson, Gary Jones and Aktar Islam. This year’s final marked 50 years of the competition and a celebration evening was held at The Berkeley Hotel on 31st October.

The winning menu was: butter poached pollock, radish and Oscietra; Lake District young fallow, watercress, onion and batek pepper; and a desert of clementine, honey, tahitensis vanilla and yoghurt.

Murphy told The Caterer: “I’m still in shock. I felt like I had done a good job and I knew I’d worked quick and clean, but to win in the 50th anniversary year of the Craft Guild of Chefs and the 50th year of the Berkeley is incredible.

“It’s validation for me and the team as well, as my competition dishes were essentially what we do every day in the restaurant. The team at Launceston Place do such an amazing job and we’re full every day. There was also a great vibe during the competition, with everyone supporting each other and sharing equipment. It was great to see other chefs finishing on time and succeeding.

“I feel like a weight has been lifted now, winning this one was important to me, and it keeps catching me. I feel humble and grateful, especially to the Craft Guild of Chefs because they have supported me since I was at college and competing in challenges like World Skills and winning Young National Chef of the Year 10 years ago.”

Kenny Atkinson, chef patron at House of Tides in Newcastle, added: “Wow, what a final, with an incredible winner! The brief I set purposely left the menus open to individual interpretation so that we could clearly see each chef’s personality, skill and talent so we’ve tasted some amazing food today.”

Matthew Smith, head chef at Inver Restaurant and Rooms was runner up with April Lily from The Ledbury coming third.