The winners of the Young Chef Young Waiter UK competition were announced for 2021 at the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai on Tuesday night. UK Young Chef of the Year for 2021 was Connor Blades from Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling and the UK Young Waiter of the Year 2021 was Sophie Heyer from The Promenade at The Dorchester. The competition took place at the Aloft Dubai Creek with Head Chef Judge Adam Handling and Head Waiter Judge Simon King supported by Andy Downton, Sudqi Naddaf, Andrea La Cognata and Nicholas Reina. Sponsors for Young Chef Young Waiter 2021 include Carrefour, Aloft Dubai Creek, Dojo and Arla Pro.
Please note it is our policy that any judge who is connected to any entrant, is not permitted to judge that specific entry. This means anyone working directly with a judge at their current establishment or organisation.
The chef winner is Connor Blades from Ugly Butterfly, by Adam Handling. The waiter winner is Sophie Heyer from The Promenade at The Dorchester.
The second place chef is Ali Halbert from Ugly Butterfly, by Adam Handling. The second place waiter is Max Daglish – Northcote Hotel.
The third place chef is Liam Rogers from Restaurant Sat Bains. The third place waiter is George Smart – The Newt in Somerset.
Robert Walton MBE chairman of Young Chef Young Waiter comments: “I am very proud to be here with the GREAT Campaign to promote UK Hospitality. I am passionate about our fantastic hospitality sector. We are the world leaders with tourists coming from all over the world to dine in our restaurants and stay in our hotels. The UK produce is the best in the world, so we should shout about it. We are creators for new hospitality experiences, we ‘See Things Differently’ that’s why we are the leaders and innovators in this space. I am so excited the GREAT campaign has supported the Young Chef Young Waiter competition showcasing hospitality as a career, a profession and a vocation.”
Chef Adam Handling said: “Judging chef of the year has been super exciting. I didn’t have voting rights in the competition as two of my team were in the final ten, so it makes it even more special that my fellow judges picked Connor Blades as the winner. Connor really cares about the industry, cooks amazing dishes and works beautifully in a team. I always think of the relationship between chefs and waiters as being quite romantic, and the partnership he created with the waiter team was inspiring. Connor Blades is the future of hospitality, and I know for a fact that he’s the future of my restaurants.”
Simon King of Igniting Hospitality said: “Sophie is a very worthy winner of Young Waiter of the year. She demonstrated great humility and adapted to challenging situations with a smile on her face. I’m so proud of how she rose to the occasion and surpassed all our expectations. We were particularly impressed with how she worked with her fellow waiters but also the chefs. Sophie is the complete package and scored consistently across all tasks. She has a very bright future ahead of her, so congratulations Sophie.”
Sudqi Naddaf Executive Chef at Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates said: “The event was amazing and very successful, it’s great to see these young chefs and young waiters competing outside their home ground, The chefs did their best and I am impressed by their level of professionalism. The competition was very healthy as chefs were very professional and supportive to each other, their knowledge of food and service was impressive. In my opinion they are all winners by being here competing in Dubai but due to the rule of the competition there must be 1 winner and big CONGRATULATIONS to the winners from both departments.”
The judging panel for Young Chef Young Waiter UK includes Head Chef Judge Adam Handling and Head Waiter Judge Simon King along with Theo Randall, Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge, Claude Bosi, Emily Roux, Tom Aikens, Jeff and Chris Galvin, Andy Downton, Brian Turner CBE, Johanna Wimmer, Mario Perera, Stefan Neumann, Merlin Labron-Johnson, Sanjay Dwivedi, Ruth Hansom, John Williams, Ollie Dabbous, Matthew Ryle, Adam Simmonds, Dimi Leivadas, Jennifer Santner, James Fleming, Beatrice Bessi, Andrew McKenzie, Dimitri Bellos, Jonno Forbes, Luigi Cagnin and Antonio Salvatore. Read more about the judges here.
The stunning UK Pavilion has been produced by Avantgarde and designed by Es Devlin OBE. Inspired by one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’, the UK Pavilion invites you to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet should we one day encounter other advanced civilisations in space. Humanity is facing challenges in every aspect of our being. Technology, creativity and innovation is rapidly showing us solutions that can solve these real global challenges. The UK is leading contributions in these areas to provide future, sustainable solutions.17th November 2021