Foodbuy sponsors the second Oxford’s Junior Chef of the Year competition: Discovering culinary talent across Oxfordshire

7 May 2024

We are delighted to have played a part in organising and sponsoring the Oxford’s Junior Chef of the Year competition for the second consecutive year. This event, aimed at enhancing young chef’s culinary skills and industry experience, was organised in partnership with the City of Oxford Guild of Chefs and our client, the colleges of the University of Oxford.

The annual competitions kicked off last year, after recognising a gap in the market for chefs after a challenging time for the hospitality industry. The annual competition is aimed at attracting and rewarding both Oxford University college chefs and those working in restaurants, pubs and cafes around Oxfordshire. We are proud to play a part in this competition to discover and recognise new talent for the hospitality industry, as well as for our client, the University of Oxford Colleges.

Recognising talent across Oxfordshire

12 candidates from across Oxfordshire, all with less than 4 years’ experience in kitchens, took part in the competition. The brief was to cook four different canapes from scratch within three hours. Our strong network of supply partners based in Oxfordshire kindly donated locally produced ingredients for the competition. A team of six professional chefs judged the candidates on kitchen performance and taste, including renowned chefs Gary Jones and Pierre Koffmann.

The winners

Congratulations to the following winners who picked up awards:

Overall winner: Cerys Leanne Santos 

Best meat canapé: Ellie Cowan

Best fish canapé: Cerys Leanne Santos 

Best vegetarian canapé: Elycia Rayner

Best plant-based canapé: Cerys Leanne Santos 

Following their victory at the competition, the three finalists went on to serve their winning canapes at the City of Oxford Guild of Chef's black-tie gala dinner at Saïd Business School, for 170 guests. The finalists were awarded their awards and prizes – a meal for two at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. The overall winner also recieved a day in the Le Manoir Cookery School. This experience and exposure aims to enhance the young chef’s culinary skillsets and strengthen their experience in the industry.

Lucy Jones, Senior Client Account Manager at Foodbuy commented: “It’s been such a privilege to be part of this competition, working with the team at the Guild of Chefs to bring this competition back to life for a second year. It’s been great to support my client and the wider hospitality industry around Oxfordshire”

Ben Gibbons, Guild Master at The City of Oxford Guild of Chefs said: “We run this competition so that junior chefs know they’ve joined an industry that they can have fun in and gain valuable experiences from. The talent that we’ve seen this year has been incredible”.

Learn about our partnership with the University of Oxford here: