A Star Shines! Daniela Prela of the Ritz, London Wins the BCF Young Chef of the Year 2023
Daniela was named the winner of the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year 2023, held at University College Birmingham on Monday 13th November.
Competitors had two hours to produce a three-course meal for two covers: the first course using Cod; the main course, sponsored by Bord Bia, using Ribeye of Grass-Fed Dry Aged Irish Beef, plus a dessert of competitor’s choice. The young chefs also had to use products from the Major International range and Lakeland Dairies.
Once again, the competition was extremely well attended and oversubscribed, full of tension, highlighting some excellent skills and innovative dishes. Runner-up was Jordan Johnson from Simpson’s restaurant, Edgbaston with Tracy Cheung from Adam’s restaurant, Birmingham coming third.
Awards were also presented for Best Starter which went to Tracy Cheung: best Main Course to Ben Perks of Toffs by Rob Palmer, Solihull and best Dessert to Jordan Johnson.
Competition organiser and BCF President Peter Griffiths, who announced the awards, said that the BCF Young Chef of the Year, now in its 26th year, continues to attract interest from right across the industry, including many renowned establishments. This year’s final once again highlighted the exceptional young talent we have working in the industry. The standard of the dishes produced was a credit to all concerned. The industry is challenging at the moment but competitions such as this show and highlight some of the very good young chefs that are out there today.
Oliver Grieve University College Birmingham
Ben Perks Toffs by Rob Palmer, Solihull
Oliver Mitchell-Hewitt Opheem Restaurant, Birmingham
Jordan Johnson Simpsons Restaurant, Edgbaston
Jordan Holland The Boat, Lichfield
Tracy Cheung Adam’s Restaurant, Birmingham
Deniz Gultes Whittlebury Park, Northamptonshire
Callum O’Grady House of Commons
Jake Goddard Coworth Park, Ascot
Daniela Prela The Ritz, London
Reece Brady-Temple Legacy at The Grand, York
Miklos Toldi Galvin At Windows, Park Lane, London
Judges: Gary Jones, formerly Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons; Ollie Bridgwater, The Gilpin Hotel, Windermere, previously The Fat Duck; Stuart Deeley, Hampton Manor, Masterchef The Professionals 2019 winner; Stuart McLeod, Chef Director, Patisserie UK; Kevin Buck, Akara Restaurant, London, current BCF Chef of the Year; Matt Nicholls, Head Chef, Cheal’s of Knowle, previous BCF Junior Chef of the Year winner.
As well as receiving the gold medal and David Bache Trophy, Daniela was presented with a cheque for £500, commemorative winner’s plate courtesy of RAK Porcelain and winner’s certificate. Also, a Grass Fed Irish Beef Masterclass with Aubrey Allen and seeded entry into the National Young Chef of the Year 2024.
Second place winner, Jordan Johnson was awarded a silver medal, cheque for £300, certificate and commemorative plate.
Third place winner, Tracy Cheung received a bronze medal, cheque for £200, certificate and commemorative plate.
All finalists received a framed certificate, a commemorative plate sponsored by RAK Porcelain, a special dispenser presented by Wrapmaster and embroidered BCF chef’s jacket.
The Awards Dinner, attended by 80 industry guests, was cooked by England’s National Junior Culinary Team. Thanks to Bord Bia for sponsoring the Beef for the competition, to Chris Dibble and Robert Caldecott for sponsoring the free-range Devon White Chicken and to University College Birmingham for their hospitality and the use of their excellent facilities.
Over the years, this competition has discovered some incredible talent and continues to attract a host of young chefs from a diverse range of establishments around the UK. The BCF has followed many past winners and runners-up who have gone on to stamp their name in the industry.
DANIELA’S WINNING MENU
Coco Bean, Menton Lemon, Salsa Verde and Alsace Bacon Foam
Rib Eye of Dry Aged Grass Fed Irish Beef
Goats Butter Braised Celeriac, Lovage, Smoked Bone Marrow and Sauce Bordelaise
Gianduja Chocolate Parfait
Hazelnut Brislet, Banana Ice Cream