The Craft Guild of Chefs has announced that Paul Ainsworth will take over as Chair of Judges for its 2020 and 2021 competitions. He takes over the role from Gary Jones, executive head chef at Le Manoir, who has led the team of judges for the last three years and crowned Steve GrovesKuba Winkowski and Luke Selby as winners.

Paul is Chef Patron of the Paul Ainsworth Collection and has been selected by the Craft Guild of Chefs to bring new ideas to the competition. The Guild regularly changes its chair to ensure the competition grows, develops and entices the best chefs in the UK to enter.

Organiser of the competition, David Mulcahy who is Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “Paul has been on the judging panel in the past and has helped us to discover some amazing winners. He has shown real integrity in his judging style and will bring a wealth of experience to what’s regarded as the UK’s biggest culinary challenge. We’ve already started working with him on the plans for the year ahead and we are excited by what he’s set to bring to the competition. Sustainability has been at the heart of The National Chef of the Year for many years but under Paul’s guidance, we are going to see this more than ever. All chefs should be working on their entries as it’s going to be an incredible year to enter.”

Paul Ainsworth has given a taster of how he will be putting his own spin on the competition, adding: “I am absolutely committed to this role and believe it’s important to lead from the top so my judging will be honest, firm and honourable. As head judge, I’ll be watching semi-finalists and finalists closely during the cook-offs and making sure the team of judges are working hard throughout the two hours to find the right winner. For my brief I’ve gone back to basics, so that all the chefs need to think about is making food that is truly delicious and showcases their own style, skill and flair. Whilst it’s important this competition remains current, it’s a cooking competition at the end of the day and I want the competitors to produce food that appeals to all five senses. As judges we just want to taste food that makes us say ‘wow’.”

Follow the Craft Guild of Chefs social media channels for updates using @Craft_Guild on Twitter, @CraftGuildofChefs on Instagram and through Facebook at

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