Lee Yong Xian Wins the BCF Young Chef of the Year 2022
Lee Yong Xiang from Simpsons Restaurant, Birmingham was named the winner of the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year 2022, held at University College Birmingham on Monday 7th November.
Competitors had two hours to produce a three-course meal for two covers, with the first course as free choice; the main course, sponsored by Bord Bia, using a Sirloin of Grass-Fed Irish Beef along with Irish Beef offal as a garnish plus a dessert of competitors choice. The young chefs also had to use products from the Major International range and Lakeland Dairies.
Once again, the competition was full of tension and excitement, highlighting some excellent skills and innovative dishes. Ben Perks at Toffs by Rob Palmer, Solihull was runner-up, with Elliott Jackson of The Ritz, London coming third.
Awards were also presented for Best Starter, Main Course and Dessert, chosen from the runners-up. Best Starter was awarded to James House of the Fat Duck in Bray. Best Main Course went to Abigail Bunker of Restaurant 6 Trent Bridge, Nottingham who also won a signed copy of Paul Foster’s cookery book and Best Dessert went to Nathan Johnson from the Royal Crescent in Bath.
Competition organiser and BCF President Peter Griffiths, who announced the awards, said that the BCF Young Chef of the Year, now in its 25th 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. It was rewarding to see the young chefs developing their skills and showing us the high quality of their cooking. 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 in the industry today. Based upon what I have seen, I am pleased to say the future looks positive.
Abigail Bunker Restaurant 6 Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Ciaran O’Neill Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere
Ben Perks Toffs by Rob Palmer, Solihull
Nathan Johnson Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath
Louis Richards University College Birmingham
Tim Harrison Le Petit Bois, Moseley
Lee Yong Xiang Simpsons Restaurant, Edgbaston
Amrita Phull Chapter Restaurant, Edgbaston
Elliott Jackson The Ritz, London
James House The Fat Duck Restaurant, Bray
Mason Clements Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling, Carbis Bay
Isaac Dickinson Hide Restaurant, London
Samantha Watkins Loughborough College
Judges were: Ashley Palmer-Watts, Artisan Coffee Co; Adam Smith, Coworth Park, The Dorchester Collection; Paul Foster, Salt, Stratford-upon-Avon; Lee Corke, Chairman, British Culinary Federation; Stuart Mcleod, Chef Director, Patisserie UK; David Colcombe, Visiting Professor, Culinary Arts, University College Birmingham; Franck Pontais, Koppert Cress.
As well as receiving the gold medal and David Bache Trophy, Lee (also known as Addison) was presented with a cheque for £500, commemorative winner’s plate and certificate. He also won a Chef Educational Trip to Ireland courtesy of Bord Bia, plus automatic seeding into the National Young Chef of the Year 2023.
Second place winner, Ben Perks was awarded a silver medal, cheque for £300, a framed certificate, commemorative plate.
Third place winner, Elliott Jackson received a bronze medal, cheque for £150, framed certificate, commemorative plate.
All finalists received a framed certificate, a commemorative plate sponsored by Villeroy & Boch and a special dispenser presented by Wrapmaster.
The Awards Dinner was attended by 80 industry guests. Thanks to Bord Bia for sponsoring the Beef for the main course and for the competition 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.