From education to employment



The Chefs’ Forum is proud to announce a brand-new pastry event for aspiring student chefs: ‘The 2021 Young Pastry Chef of the Year Competition’.

The event, spearheaded by Jamie Houghton of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and President of the UK Pastry Team, will see Jamie team up with Neil Rippington, Director of Education at The Chefs’ Forum, to design an engaging, experiential and rewarding competition to inspire students after a very difficult time during the last year.

Jamie said: 

“This competition presents a great opportunity for students to test their creativity in a pressurised environment as this replicates a realistic working atmosphere. To create a high-quality product in a time constrained conditions will provide students with an insight of the challenges of work in a top professional kitchen.”

Neil continued to say:

 “The development of pastry chefs in the UK is suffering at grass roots level. There are simply not enough aspiring young chefs wanting to develop the skills and knowledge required to become a great pastry chef, and this is leaving the industry short of talent it requires. There seems to be an insufficient number of opportunities nationally to promote this fantastic vocation.

This is doubly frustrating as the sector is booming with the innovation and creativity, yet restaurants and hotels are struggling to recruit chefs with the high-level skills required. For this reason, we are very excited and inspired to be shining a light on this important work.”

An expert panel has been formed to judge ‘The Entremet Challenge’ testing the skills of students from across the UK, who will be competing to produce the ultimate entremet. The top three finalists will receive a rotational stage in the judge’s kitchens, a brilliant prize for any student chef wishing to experience a pastry kitchen operating at the highest level. Other exciting prizes will be confirmed in due course.

Judges confirmed are:

  • Jamie Houghton – Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and President of the UK Pastry Team
  • Sarah Mountain – The Ned
  • Chris Underwood – Belmond Cadogan Hotel
  • Thibaut Hauchard- Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
  • Michael Quan – Hotel Café Royal
  • Daniel Pearse – The Savoy

Judge, Daniel Pearse, Executive Pastry Chef at the iconic Savoy Hotel said;

 “The industry needs to offer a greater level of support to our colleges.  Historically we have taken a lot of chefs from the continent, however with Brexit now being a huge factor affecting this corridor, it is now more important than ever that we support UK colleges in nurturing and supporting our home-grown talent.

It will be great to work with my fellow judges to share the talent discovered through this competition, moving the talented students around between top pastry kitchens, learning from the very best in the business, this will help them to become them well-rounded experts in the pastry field.”

Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, added:

 “The value of this opportunity cannot be underestimated. The chef judges represent the cream of the crop of British pastry and time spent in their kitchens can only be seen as a remarkable chance to be taught by the experts.”

Prizes confirmed, so far are:

The Chefs’ Forum Young Pastry Chef of the Year 2021 competition is open to students on culinary programmes at level 3 and the students must be aged between 17 and 21 years old at the point of entry. The competition will be based on two heats, with the final being judged live in London at West London College on Tuesday 15th June. Details of how to enter will be released shortly.

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