The South West Chef of the Year competition 2014 is now open for entries from talented professional and student chefs, junior cooks and amateur home enthusiasts looking to win the region’s most prestigious cooking competition.

A brand new class has been introduced for 2014, South West Student Chef of the Year, open to student and apprentice chefs aged between 16 and 19. This new class is being run through the region’s catering colleges, who will put forward one student or apprentice chef for a cook-off semi-final on Saturday 11th October at Exeter College.

Michael Caines, Judge and co-founder of the competition says, “We have introduced the new Student Chef class to encourage the next generation and help younger chefs make their mark in a very competitive industry.  South West Chef of the Year has provided a platform from which many chefs have been able to highlight their skills and develop their careers.  It also celebrates the quality of produce available at the fingertips of chefs throughout the South West.”

The other classes open for entries include Professional for anyone aged 24 and over and working as a pastry chef, junior sous chef or above and Young Professional for those aged between 19 and 24 and working in the industry in any position. Entrants to these classes and the new Student Chef class must devise a 2-course menu for 3 people using regional ingredients including 2 compulsory ingredients specified by the judges. With meat supplied by Pipers Farm and fish by Kingfisher Brixham, the Professional class must include mackerel and Suffolk lamb neck fillet in their menu, while the Young Professionals will be required to work with cod and Red Ruby Rump tail. Student chefs will be expected to devise their 2 courses around whiting and pork tenderloin.

Entrants to the Junior class, for any budding chef aged between 11 and 16 and at school and the South West’s Best Dish, for any amateur cook who has never worked in the industry, must enter a recipe for a main course dish using regionally sourced ingredients.

All entrants making it through to the semi-finals and finals will go on to prepare their dishes for a team of the South West’s finest chefs including Michael Caines MBE, Peter Gorton, Neil Haydock, Mark Hix, Nathan Outlaw, Chris and James Tanner, Matt Mason, Darrin Hosegrove, Simon Hulstone, Hywel Jones, Rob Rees MBE and Ian Webber. A panel of regional chefs will judge the county heats of the Junior class and will go on to mentor the Junior county winners in preparation for the final.

The winners for each class and the overall South West Chef of the Year will be announced at an awards presentation dinner on Monday 27th October at Exeter Golf and Country Club. The Awards dinner is prepared by a number of guest chefs who are all previous winners of the competition and assisted in the kitchen and front of house by students of the Michael Caines Academy.

Nathan Cornwell, 2013 Young Professional and Overall South West Chef of the Year winner, says, “Winning the Young Professional and overall title last year was a huge surprise and has given me opportunities to meet and work with a long list of renowned and respected chefs that I would not otherwise have had contact with. Entering the competition was definitely a good decision that has already had a positive impact on my career.”

Entry is via an online entry form available at . Entries close on 18th July 2014.

Now in its 11th year, South West Chef of the Year is sponsored by 3663.