Judges announce semi-finalists and finalists of South West Chef of the Year 2017

South West Chef of the Year 2017

Following a nail-biting series of opening rounds, the panel of judges for South West Chef of the Year 2017 has now selected its semi-finalists and finalists for this prestigious competition. Championed by Michael Caines MBE, South West Chef of the Year has been showcasing and supporting exceptional, culinary talent in the peninsula for the last 14 years. The competition attracts home cooks, youngsters aged from 11 years and student/apprentice, young professional and professional chefs. This year, for the first time, the winner of Devon Life’s Home Cook of the Year has received automatic entry into the South West Chef of the Year Home Cook category final. Emy Mordue of Exeter will pit her skill and imagination against four other finalists hailing from Dorset, Devon and Gloucestershire.

As well as offering culinary enthusiasts and passionate professionals in the region the opportunity to cook for some of the South West’s best chefs, including Lympstone Manor’s Michael Caines, the competition provides a spring board for emerging talent. South West Chef of the Year also aims to champion the region’s exceptional produce, celebrate its creativity and promote professional cooking as an exciting and satisfying career choice.

Michael Caines said: “The competition is hotting up and we’re now at the stage where my fellow judges and I can look forward to tasting the menus created by our semi-finalists and finalists. I can’t wait as this is one of the most exciting parts of the competition during which we can see what entrants are trying to achieve; how they have been inspired by the fantastic local produce we ask them to use; how skilled they are at putting flavours together and importantly, how innovative their cooking is.

Joining Michael on the judging panel are Michael Wignall of Gidleigh Park and Chris and James Tanner of Barbican Kitchen and Kentish Hare to mention but a few. As well as assessing entrants on their flair and creativity, the judges will provide invaluable support for those entering the final rounds with feedback and advice. Testament to the competition’s reputation and nurturing ethos is the return of entrants for consecutive years. 2017’s competition will see the return of several of last year’s competitors including the 2016 winners of the Home Cook and Student/Apprentice categories: Sue Stoneman, aiming to defend her Home Cook title and Harrison Brockington now striving to add the Young Professional Chef award to his collection as his career progresses.

South West Chef of the Year 2017The Professional, Young Professional and Student/Apprentice Chef categories will now enter the semi-final stage taking place at Exeter College on Saturday 30th September whilst those selected in the Home Cook category will go directly to a final at Ashburton Cookery School on Saturday 14th October. Here they will be joined by the Junior Chef finalists who have all won the junior title in their own counties to gain a place in the South West final. The grand finals for the Professional, Young Professional and Student/Apprentice Chefs will take place on Wednesday 25th October at Exeter College followed by a glittering awards presentation evening and sumptuous dinner at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

Tickets are now available for this prestigious event with a delicious dinner prepared by three highly acclaimed and award winning chefs: Michael Caines MBE; Jamie Coleman, Head Chef at The Masons Arms, Knowstone who won South West Chef of the Year 2016 and James Mason, Head Chef at Kentisbury Grange and winner of South West Young Professional Chef of the Year 2015. The evening will start with a drinks reception with canapés followed by a three-course meal with wines for each course. The evening will conclude with the announcement of the winners of South West Chef of the Year 2017. Tickets can be purchased online at just £85 each.

This year’s semi-finalists and finalists:


Professional Category Semi-finalists

Sponsored by Ritter Courivaud


Young Professional Category Semi-finalists

Sponsored by Lympstone Manor and Michael Caines MBE


Home Cook Category Finalists

Sponsored by Ashburton Cookery School


Junior Chef Category Finalists


Anna West, Penair School, Truro
Anna will be mentored by Stephane Delourme at The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow


Samantha Taylor-Clarke, Stover School, Newton Abbot
Samantha will be mentored by Mark Dodson at The Masons Arms, Knowstone


Emily Henson, Bournemouth School for Girls
Emily will be mentored by Brett Sutton at The White Post, Rimpton


Amber Clay, Alderman Knight School, Tewkesbury
Amber will be mentored by Gus Ashenford at Restaurant 5 North Street, Winchcombe


Munopa Nhete, Queen’s College, Taunton
Munopa will be mentored by Liam Finnegan at The Castle Hotel, Taunton


Vikki Pearcey Thorn, Lavington School, Market Lavingotn
Vikki will be mentored by Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park


Student/Apprentice Chef Category

Sponsored by Nisbets

Catering colleges across the South West are invited to put forward a student/apprentice chef for a guaranteed place in the semi-final of this category and, in addition, a small number of places are also available to those opting to enter this category directly. Colleges putting a student forward are asked to confirm the name of the student once colleges return for the autumn term in September and so further students may be added to this list at that time.