Our very own Ben Murphy, chef patron at Launceston Place, has been named National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) 2023.
He received the award at a ceremony held at the Berkeley hotel in London to mark the 50th anniversary of the competition.
Ten finalists took part in a cook-off earlier in the day, with judges including Kenny Atkinson, Gary Jones, Aktar Islam, and Nieves Barragán Mohacho.
Murphy impressed with his menu of butter poached pollock, radish and Oscietra; Lake District young fallow, watercress, onion and batek pepper; and a desert of clementine, honey, tahitensis vanilla and yoghurt.
Speaking to The Caterer, Murphy said: “I’m still in shock. I felt like I had done a good job and I knew I’d worked quick and clean, but to win in the 50th anniversary year of the Craft Guild of Chefs and the 50th year of the Berkeley is incredible.
“It’s validation for me and the team as well, as my competition dishes were essentially what we do every day in the restaurant. The team at Launceston Place do such an amazing job and we’re full every day. There was also a great vibe during the competition, with everyone supporting each other and sharing equipment. It was great to see other chefs finishing on time and succeeding.
“I feel like a weight has been lifted now, winning this one was important to me, and it keeps catching me. I feel humble and grateful, especially to the Craft Guild of Chefs because they have supported me since I was at college and competing in challenges like World Skills and winning Young National Chef of the Year 10 years ago.”
Kenny Atkinson, chef patron at House of Tides and Solstice in Newcastle and this year’s chair of judges, said: “Wow, what a final, with an incredible winner! The brief I set purposely left the menus open to individual interpretation so that we could clearly see each chef’s personality, skill and talent so we’ve tasted some amazing food today.
“Congratulations to all the finalists and well done to Ben. To the other nine chefs, I want to see you learn from this experience and come back next year, more determined than ever.”
Murphy’s prize includes £2,500 from Knorr Professional to help with his career development and a ‘chef experience’ in London and the south-west of England curated by Continental Chef Supplies (CSS), which will include visits to restaurants, masterclasses, and artisan food tours.