Finalists revealed for The National Chef of the Year 2018


After four intensive heats, the Craft Guild of Chefs has today named the ten chefs who will battle for The National Chef of the Year title at The Restaurant Show in October. The names have been revealed after four tough heats involving 41 chef competitors and 20 judges.
Young National Chef of the Year 2013 winner and sous chef at L’Enclume, Ben Champkin was announced as the first chef to make the NCOTY finals when he won the first heat in Sheffield. 
David Davey-Smith, chef, from Royal Air Force Worthy Down won heat two which took place at Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London today. Winning the third heat was Karl O’Dell, senior sous chef from Petrus – Gordon Ramsay. The final heat was won by Thomas Westerland, sous chef from Lucknam Park. 
Joining those four chefs in the semi-final are six runners-up who scored the highest points across all four heats. These are Dean Westcar, head chef at Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park, Luke Selby, head chef at Dabbous, Simon Webb, head chef at Restaurant Associates, Kuba Winkowski, head chef at The Feathered Nest Inn, Will Holland, head chef at Coast Restaurant and Adam Thomason, head chef at Restaurant Associates – Deloitte.  

Proud to sponsor National Chef of the Year 2017

After an exciting and busy judging process involving some of the UK’s top chefs, 41 semi-finalists are in the running to win National Chef of the Year 2018.
These talented chefs will compete in the heats at Sheffield College on Tuesday 6th June or at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London on Tuesday 20th June 2017.

The top scoring chef in each heat automatically gets a place in the live final at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, 3rd October at Olympia, London. It will then be down to the six chefs who received the highest runner-up scores to complete the line-up.

To get to the semi-finals, chefs have already had to impress 13 judges, including the new Chair of Judges, Gary Jones from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons who will oversee the whole competition. He analysed all menu courses alongside David Mulcahy and Andrew Bennett who were on hand to help whittle the list down. Starters were judged by Alyn Williams, Peter Joyner and Willie Pike, with main courses being scrutinised by Clare Smyth MBE, Philip Howard, Russell Bateman and Steve Scuffell. Marking the mouth-watering desserts this year was Graham Hornigold, Sarah Hartnett and Julie Sharp.

In the next round chefs must cook-up their menu in two hours and it has to include a vegetarian based starter, a duck and cherry combination main course and a classic tart as a dessert.


Luke Selby Crowned Roux Scholar 2017 (2)

Luke Selby, head chef at Dabbous, London has won the 2017 Roux Scholarship. Luke beat five other finalists in a fiercely contested final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on Monday 10th April, where they were asked to prepare and serve Royal-style saddle of hare, chestnut flavoured tagliatelli and purple sprouting broccoli.

The 26-year-old chef, who entered the competition for the first time this year, was battling it out against Martin Carabott, from Luca Restaurant, London, Michael Cruickshank from Bohemia, Jersey, Scott Dineen, of BaxterStorey, London, Oliver Downey from Fera at Claridge’s, London and Matthew Whitfield from The Driftwood Hotel, Portscatho in Cornwall.

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Pictured above is Alain Roux and Luke Selby with Sponsors - Direct Seafoods - Sustainability Director, Laky Zervudachi, and Michel Roux Jr (Photo courtesy of Jodi Hinds)


Skrei season is here!

Skrei (pronounced ‘skray’) is a special kind of migratory Norwegian cod. Skrei means ‘wanderer’, referring to the 1000km journey these cod make each year to spawn around the islands of Lofoten and Vesterålen. This epic swim through the rough Barents Sea is what gives Skrei such amazingly succulent, flavoursome white flesh. Skrei is strictly seasonal and the catch is tightly monitored.

Direct Seafoods and Friends Return to the Universal Cookery and Food Festival!


Direct Seafoods, suppliers of fresh fish and seafood to caterers throughout the UK and Ireland; will be exhibiting at the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Universal Cookery and Food Festival, UCFF, on Tuesday 20th September 2016.  Direct Seafoods will be supported by other specialist fresh food businesses from the Bidvest Fresh group, including Oliver Kay Produce, Hensons and Campbell Brothers. 
Oliver Kay Produce’s Development Chef Laurence Tottingham, will be on-stand showcasing a wide range of fresh and seasonal produce along with fresh fish, meat and dairy from the various companies, via a series of food tastings and live skills demonstrations. Laurence’s experience includes a tenure with Heston Blumenthal at the iconic Fat Duck and Hinds Head restaurants, before going on to set up the award winning ‘Aumbry’ restaurant with renowned chef Mary Ellen Mctague. 
Laurence comments; “UCFF offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase seasonality and provenance of the extensive variety of fresh products available from our businesses.  We look forward to sharing some fantastic food throughout the day with such a respected group of industry peers.”
UCFF, which this year takes up residence at Laverstoke Park Farm - Hampshire, is dubbed the ‘Glastonbury for Chefs’ and delivers provenance, sustainability, trends, seasonality and development education for attending chefs and caterers from across the UK. 
For information about the fresh companies within Bidvest Fresh visit and for information about the Universal Cookery and Food Festival visit
For press enquiries please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Why Salmon Prices are Soaring in 2016


As a consumer product, very few types of seafood are able to compete on the same levels of supply and international demand as farmed Atlantic salmon. The increasing global appetite for this fish has seen exports grow rapidly in the last two decades, reaching a record 2.3 million tonnes with a value in excess of €13 billion last year.

Collectively, the salmon farming industry’s output has grown 7-8% annually since 1997. However, this year’s total is expected to decline to around 2.2 million tonnes with many stakeholders not expecting any increase for at least another two years.

There are a number of reasons for this supply decrease, but the biggest impacts have come from naturally occurring biological challenges in key farming areas – predominantly sea lice infestations in Norway and algal blooms in Chile. Historically, these two countries account for around two-thirds of the world’s salmon production, but both are forecast to see their respective outputs fall by 100,000 tonnes in 2016.

While there is some good news in the market in terms of salmon supply, such as higher output from Scotland this year, these contributions do very little to offset the overall decline. Therefore, combining the reduced availability with the unprecedented demand for salmon, a perfect storm has emerged whereby at numerous stages this year salmon prices have been 30-40% more than they were in the corresponding period of 2015.

Unfortunately, the high prices and declining availability of farmed salmon have left many buyers and processors in key markets struggling to fill orders in recent months.With sea lice, algal blooms and other biological challenges remaining unwanted forces to be reckoned with, not to mention fast-growing demand from existing and new regions, the market should be prepared to pay more for salmon in the future. We will all simply have to wait to see by how much and for how long.

Some comfort should be taken from the salmon industry’s determination to quickly get production back on a growth trend. As the aquaculture sector’s technological frontrunner, it is actively seeking, through heavy investment, new production areas, alternative feed sources, new technologies etc. that can help solve its biological challenges cost-effectively and bring greater stability to the market.

For information and assistance on alternative species choices to salmon, contact your local Direct Seafoods depot where our team will be able to assist you with sustainable and seasonal fish options.  

Seafood Holdings Limited (trading as Direct Seafoods)
Registered in England Number 04227047  |  VAT Number GB173 9880 60
Unit 10-14, Cedar Way Industrial Estate, Camley Street,
London, N1C 4PD

Phone: 01206 584 790

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Proud Sponsors of The National Chef of the Year 

        NCOTY Main


Direct Seafoods

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