Parliamentary Pub Chef Awards are back

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Tough competition: the awards aim to showcase the best pub chefs in the country
Tough competition: the awards aim to showcase the best pub chefs in the country
The Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year Awards are returning for a second year, in a bid to highlight growing demand for talented and creative pub chefs across the nation.

The competition has two categories – Pub Chef and Young Pub Chef of the Year. Last year’s winners, pub chef Milan Hukal from the Dog Inn, Grundisburgh, Suffolk, and young chef Robert Yuill the D'Arcy Thompson, Dundee, took home the titles after 120 nominations were received by MPs.

Yuill hailed the award and said winning made an “instant difference” to his life.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of joint organiser of the competition the British Beer & Pub Association, emphasised the crucial role pub chefs play in the hospitality trade. “With pubs serving about 1bn meals each year, it is important to recognise the contribution pub chefs make to the eating out experience in this country.

“Many leading, well-known celebrity chefs have boosted the quality of food in pubs while still making it an affordable treat.”

'Dynamic' hospitality

The awards have the backing of celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, who said: “The British pub sector is such a fantastic and dynamic area of the hospitality industry. It is a space that allows the warmth of hospitality to shine through in an environment that is comfortable for everyone, irrespective of background.

“It is a place where the quality of British produce is allowed to flourish and the only standards that will be holding you back are your own. The drive for success is always hugely supported, not only from within the pub sector but from customers and producers.

“Many years ago the British food scene was the laughing stock of Europe. Now, through that push for perfection, the British pub scene is at the forefront of the hospitality world. Long may it continue!”

Nominations by MPs run until 27 October. Chefs are then asked to complete an entry form, which is judged by experts including TV guest chef presenter Paul Merrett.

Chef shortage

The second round of judging takes place in December, with the final cook-off in January before presentation of the awards at the House of Commons in February 2018.

In a bid to tackle the industry-wide chef shortage, the BBPA in conjunction with the British Institute of Innkeepers and the Perceptions Group launched the Pub Chef Passion initiative.

This included a short film​, which aims to promote the pub chef as a career option. The Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year award seeks to build on this work and encourage young chefs towards a career in the pub trade.

Simmonds added: “Our aim is to highlight the talented chefs around the country, help spot future stars and encourage more young people to consider training and working as a chef in a pub.”

The competition is organised by the BBPA in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and supported by Nestlé Professional. 

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