M announces finalists in Young Chef of the Year Competition

M announces finalists in Young Chef of the Year Competition

Awards seeking to inspire new talent to combat post-Brexit staff shortages


M Restaurant and Bookatable by Michelin in association with Champagne Pommery, Foodism & Collins King Associates, have announced the finalists of the second Young Chef of the Year competition. The Young Chef of the Year competition aims to not only find the best young talent already in the kitchens of London and across the UK, but to encourage others into starting up a career in the hospitality industry following reported staff shortages post-Brexit.  The top 12 entrants are now faced with the task of hosting their own five-day pop-up at M in Victoria Street’s RAW Restaurant to be in with a chance of winning the title.

The finalists, all young chefs under the age of 29, hail from some of the best restaurants across London and the rest of the UK. Battling it out for the top spot are representatives from Hide, Pollen St. Social, Coal Shed and The Curlew, as well as other top restaurants. They were selected after submitting an original four-course menu at £45 per head together with costings for 50 covers. The chefs have all suitably impressed M Group Executive Chef Michael Reid and guest judges in two competition rounds and have now been invited to M Victoria Street to cook in a series of pop up takeover nights from 3 -28 July, with diners and judges voting for their favourite young chef.

During July, entrants’ menus will be judged by M Restaurant founder, Martin Williams; M Group Executive Chef, Michael Reid; as well as leading chefs and personalities who are backing the M campaign; including Adam Handling, Andy Lynes, Claudio Cardoso, Sophie Michell, Daniel Watkins, Jose Pizarro, Michael Wignall, Steve Dinneen, Sudi Pigott and Tom Kemble.

Guests and judges will sample special dishes throughout the pop-up nights such as Venison, fermented green gazpacho, new potato sauce, onion and chard (Hamish Pearce); Mackerel Ceviche, oyster mayonnaise, radish and seaweed (Daniel Andree) and Orange and Basil Posset, macerated peaches, Frangelico biscuits and milk sorbet (Adebayo Folarin).

Aside from taking on the tough job of judging the dishes, M founder Martin Williams is hoping that Young Chef of the Year will inspire the next generation of young chefs. “There are two purposes of the competition- To nurture the best young talent already in our kitchens and secondly I hope that by seeing what other young people are doing with food, it will inspire others to get into the professional kitchen and try it out for themselves! Thanks to Brexit the hospitality industry is suffering from worrying staff shortages and we want to make becoming a chef an aspirational career to students coming out of schools and colleges.”

Prize categories include the Young Chef of the Year Winner, Young Chef of the Year Runner Up, Best Dish as voted by the judges and Best Social Campaign as voted by Bookatable. The winner and runner up will receive a five-day ‘pop up residency’ each in the 50 cover RAW restaurant at M Victoria St. The winner will also receive a trip to Champagne and a set of Blenheim Forge Knives.

Winners will be announced on 31 July at an awards ceremony.


Young Chef of the Year Finalists

Ollie Fitton, 21, The Ryebeck Hotel, Bowness on Windemere

Adebayo, 22, Opera Tavern

Hamish Pearce, 22, Hide

Jamie Gardner, 23, Coal Shed

William Bowman Smith, 24, Galloways of Woburn

Stefano Camplone, 24, Neo Bistro

Daniel Andree, 25, The Curlew Restaurant

Aaron Ashmore, 27, Clarette

Mateusz Maksymilian Mitka, 28, Hotel Farnborough

Wojieck Okenski, 29, M

Andrew Beynon, 29, Pollen St Social

Filippo Boaro, 24 M




The creation of former Gaucho supremo Martin Williams, the multi award-winning M Threadneedle St houses two 100-cover restaurants, a destination cocktail bar, a wine-tasting room and a secret den, M Den, alongside flexible private dining and event spaces.

M Victoria St meanwhile is home to a 120-cover two-tiered grill room, 50-cover raw bar, public and private members’ bars, a wine tasting room and private dining and event spaces. The venue is accessed via M Wine Store, a retail boutique from which customers can purchase unusual and premium wines in person or online.

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