The reward for the winner is obvious.
First of all, there is the prize. Then there is the certificate, signed by the Chairman of Judges and the competition founder, to show that he – or she – has won the prestigious title.
This can be framed for display either at home or in the business premises if the winner is involved in the Hospitality industry.
For professional chefs this is of great value as it denotes both the winner’s skill and the quality of the food produced. In practical terms it means a substantial increase in custom.
Over the years most, but not all, winners have been restaurant chefs and the boost to their business is clear to see. One early victor now heads a million pound restaurant business, another has built up a chain of highly regarded restaurants, while several have progressed from employee to owner status.
Winners outwith the restaurant trade also gained material benefits.
For one of the two housewives who won, success led to a cookery book and a TV series. The other was head-hunted for a catering lectureship. For one English cook, success meant promotion from cooking meals for first-class airline passengers to executive rank in the company producing them.
Worldwide access to the competition has meant that finalists have come from many countries and many differing backgrounds. The oldest was a 69-year-old retired Australian businessman , the youngest a Chinese student from Malaysia who was just entering her 20s. Finalists have included a New York restaurateur, chefs from UK, India, Bangladesh and Thailand, a French housewife, a German secretary, and an Edinburgh-based Japanese woman.
Among the more unusual entries were the chef from a North Sea Oil Rig, and an officers’ mess cook from the Royal Navy. There was also the Scotsman running an Indian take- away in the far north of the country who won through to the final twice – the second time with an exclusively fish menu.