The candidates were chosen following two cook-offs, held simultaneously in London and Birmingham yesterday (14 March).
Chefs had two and a half hours to prepare a planned dish and a dessert for four people using a mystery box of ingredients, including ginger root, oranges and Thatchers Katy cider.
Two finalists, Spencer Metzger and Ryan Baker, both work at The Ritz and were competing for the first time this year.
“I’m ecstatic that I got through. I’m really excited about taking the next step,” says Baker. “I practised on all my days off, over the last couple of months – practised, practised, practised, and it really paid off.”
Olivia Catherine Burt, from Claridge’s, also entered for the first time this year.
“I practised from the moment I heard I’d got through,” she says. “I’ve had lots of support from my head chef Martyn [Nail] and also Matt [Starling] from when I worked at Fera.”
Meanwhile in Birmingham, some of the chefs struggled to cook their dishes and the mystery box dessert within the time limit.
Judge Angela Hartnett says: “My advice would be to future entrants: when thinking about the paper entry, save time for the dessert.”
The six finalists, who will compete in the national final on 1 April, are as follows:
- Ryan Baker, The Ritz, London
- Olivia Catherine Burt, Claridge’s, London
- Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey
- Adam Harper, The Cavendish Hotel at Baslow, Derbyshire
- Lewis Linley, Vacherin, London
- Spencer Metzger, The Ritz, London
One reserve (who will compete if a chef has to drop out):
- Samuel Nash, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria