Press Release : Monday 19th December 2016


On 31st January 2017 the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts will launch the eighth Master of Culinary Arts (MCA).  Based on the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), the MCA is the UK hospitality industry’s most prestigious award for head chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant managers.

“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.”  John Williams MBE, Executive Chef, The Ritz London/Chairman, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts

The award of the MCA is conferred on those who have displayed mastery of the complex and specialised knowledge and skills in culinary arts which are required to be a first class chef, pastry chef or for restaurant management and service.  The holder of the MCA is able to demonstrate advanced technical skill and professional ability, accept accountability for their decision-making, contribute to supervision and management, support the development of others and act in the best interests of the culinary arts profession.

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.  Applicants must also have:
At least 10 years 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.
A 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.
A working knowledge of written and spoken English.

Tuesday 31st January Launch of the MCA
Friday 31st March Closing date for entries
Saturday 29th April Restaurant Management & Service Quarter-Final, Grosvenor House
Monday 5th June Restaurant Management & Service Semi-Final, The Langham London
June (Date TBC) Pastry Chefs Semi-Final
Wednesday 28th June Chefs Semi-Final, University College Birmingham
Saturday 16th September Pastry Chefs Final, The Taste Lab, Classic Fine Foods
Saturday 23rd September Chefs Final, University College Birmingham
Saturday 30th September Restaurant Management & Service Final, Le Gavroche
October (Date TBC) Gala Presentation Dinner

For further information or to register your interest in taking part in the MCA 2017 please e-mail your contact details to:


Committees and Judges
Chairman of the MCA: David Pitchford, Proprietor, Reads Restaurant with Rooms

Chairman: Idris Caldora MCA, Executive Chef, Adopt a School
Committee: André Garrett MCA, Executive Head Chef, Cliveden House
Martin Green MCA, Head Chef, Whites Club
John Williams MBE, Executive Chef, The Ritz London

Pastry Chefs
Chairmen: Michael Nadell
Michel Roux OBE MOF
Committee: Benoit Blin MCA, Head Pastry Chef, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Claire Clark MBE MCA, Partner, Pretty Sweet
William Curley MCA, Patissier-Chocolatier, William Curley
Denis Drame MCA, Executive Chef, The Taste Lab, Classic Fine Foods
Yolande Stanley MCA, Consultant Pastry Chef Lecturer, The Pastry Training Company
Paul Williams MCA, Pastry Senior Sous Chef, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Restaurant Management & Service
Chairmen: Silvano Giraldin, Director, Le Gavroche
Sergio Rebecchi, Director, Serenata Hospitality
Vice Chairmen: John Cousins, Director, The Food and Beverage Training Company
Didier Garnier, Proprietor, Le Colombier
Committee: Mourad Ben Tekfa MCA, Restaurant Director, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Joël Claustre MCA, Retail Operations Director, Searcys
Stephane Davaíne, Director, Front of House Operations, Property and Corporate Services, Coutts
Jean-Luc Giquel, Group General Manager, The Cinnamon Group
Simon Girling, Executive Food & Beverage Operations Manager, The Ritz London
Rémy Lysé, Chief Operating Officer, The Arts Club
Michael Newton-Young MCA, Managing Director, JMK Classic Catering Ltd
Robert Rose MCA, Operations Manager Restaurants, Selfridges
Thierry Tomasin MCA, Proprietor/Restaurant Manager, Angelus Restaurant
Elaine Watson MCA, Food and Beverage Support Services Manager, The Gleneagles Hotel

Inaugurated in 1987, The Master of Culinary Arts (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.  Inspired by Michel Bourdin, then Chef de Cuisine at The Connaught and supported by Albert and Michel Roux OBEs the MCA was based on the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) and was originally known as the Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne.

The MCA represents the very best in craftsmanship in cooking, pastry and service.  It is a priority in the Royal Academy’s continuing efforts to improve the standards of food, cooking and service while, at the same time, raising the professional status of chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant managers.  Winners of the MCA carry the title for life and become role models for future generations.  Through the MCA, we can encourage young people to aspire to be the best thus securing a better future for the hospitality industry.

Leading the hospitality profession by example – shaping the future through education.

Founded in 1980, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts is Britain’s leading professional association of Head Chefs, Pastry Chefs, Restaurant Managers and suppliers.  Its objectives are primarily focused on the education and training of young people in the hospitality industry through the provision of career opportunities; recognising and rewarding talent and skill; and raising standards and awareness of food, food provenance, cooking and service.  Members are united in the common purpose of supporting the future of the industry through thorough and extensive education and training.  The Academy fulfils this aim through a number of education initiatives such as its charity Chefs Adopt a School; its Chefs Apprenticeship Programmes; the Annual Awards of Excellence and the Master of Culinary Arts.

Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
President: Brian Turner CBE
Chairman: John Williams MBE
Chief Executive: Sara Jayne Stanes OBE