Vacherin London head chef Nick Smith has been named the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year 2021 after after winning over the judges at a fiercely contested competition at Le Cordon Bleu, London.
Smith “wowed” the esteemed panel of judges, which was chaired by Paul Ainsworth, and featured chefs including Clare Smyth and Claude Bosi.
The runner-up this year was Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle, while third place was awarded to April Lily Partridge, formerly of the Ledbury, who is the highest-placed female finalist in the prize’s history (this in itself is a little regrettable, we have to say).
Smith was awarded the additional accolade of best dessert.
Smith, who beat ten other high-profile chefs, thanked his colleagues, family and friends for their inspiration and support over the years.
This year, chefs were asked to prepare a three-course menu consisting of a “San Sebastián, modern-style tapas”. The starter required the use of gilt-head bream, the main lamb and offal, and the dessert needed to be “show stopping” and focused on strawberries and cream.