Prestigious award on the menu for top chefs and managers
Nearly everyone has heard of MasterChef, a fairly light-hearted TV show, where amateur chefs aspire to prepare the poshest of posh nosh.
An altogether more serious competition is about to take place again, 35 years after it was first established, and is attracting some of the top chefs in the country.
As the hospitality industry slowly gets back up to speed after the pandemic caused chaos, it still faces many challenges, whether it be the skills shortage, the imminent rise in VAT back to 20 per cent in April, the National Insurance increase in the same month or rising prices for their supplies.
On top of this, the industry faces more bureaucracy with large hospitality businesses required to display calorie labelling information on menus and food labels, again from April.
However, the industry can still celebrate excellence within its ranks after the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) launched the eighth Master of Culinary Arts (MCA).
Inaugurated in 1987, The MCA is held every four years and is seen to be the ultimate accolade, awarded in recognition of outstanding craftsmanship for chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant managers in the UK.
Winners carry the title for life and become role models for future generations. The MCA can encourage young people to aspire to be the best thus securing a better future for the hospitality industry.
The holder of the MCA needs to be able to:
- Prove advanced technical skill and professional ability; accept accountability for their decision-making
- Contribute to supervision and management
- Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the principles of sustainability and the viability of food sources throughout the scope of the food chain
- Demonstrate leadership and support the development of others
- Act in the best interests of the culinary arts profession.
There are still a few days left to register, with entries closing on February 4.
To enter the MCA candidates must be currently employed full-time within the United Kingdom as a Chef, Pastry Chef or in Restaurant Management and Service. They must have:
- At least 10 years of full-time experience in their specific trade (not necessarily consecutively).
- A range of industrial experience at various levels including at least three years at a senior level.
- Broad knowledge of traditional and modern gastronomy and service.
- The ability to demonstrate a range of their specific trade skills at an advanced level under pressure.
- Undertaken a range of activities as part of their own continuing professional development.
- Contributed to the training and development of others.
- Working knowledge of written and spoken English.
John Williams MBE, executive chef at The Ritz in London and chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, commented: “The MCA is the highest honour in the catering industry; it examines the very finest details in service, pastry and kitchen and is the pinnacle of each discipline.
“For me, a Master of Culinary Arts is a person who strives for perfection in their profession and has the grace and elegance to promote our craft to the next generation.”