Master of Culinary Arts 2017 Winners

Publish Date: December 13, 2017 Posted By: raca


The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts has today announced the results of its 2017 Master of Culinary Arts, the UK’s highest culinary and hospitality honour, only presented every four years.

Launched in 1987 and now in its 30th year, the awards celebrate those who display a mastery of the complex and advanced specialised knowledge and skills in culinary arts and restaurant management; accept accountability for their decision-making; contribute to supervision and management; express comprehensive knowledge of the principles of sustainability and the viability of our food sources throughout the scope of the food chain; demonstrate leadership and support the development of others; and act in the best interests of the hospitality profession. Amongst the sixteen who reached Finals, staged throughout September, were leading chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant managers from some of the best culinary establishments in the UK.

The seven winners of the MCA who demonstrated to the judges the exceptional standard required to achieve this supreme honour were celebrated at the Gala Presentation Dinner on Thursday 5th October at Claridge’s, London. They are:


  • Adam Bennett, Chef Director, The Cross at Kenilworth
  • Chris Hill, Premier Sous Chef, The Ritz Hotel
  • Adam Smith, Executive Chef, Coworth Park
  • Adam Thomason, Head Chef, Deloitte, Restaurant Associates
  • Anthony Wright, Senior Chef Lecturer, University College Birmingham


Alessandro Fasoli, General Manager, The Woodspeen Restaurant and Cookery School Giovanni Ferlito, Head of Wine and Beverage, The Ritz London.

All the candidates face a high level of demanding challenges and 2017 was no exception. In order to reach the Finals, each discipline had to win through a number of trials that tested not only technical and artistic mastery of their craft but also the ability to work under extreme pressure of running a restaurant and/or a kitchen, motivating a team, customer service, and, in the case of the Restaurant Managers, speak two languages fluently, display universal social skills, wine appreciation and menu pairing, organizing events and managing a balance sheet.

It is with disappointment that, despite the judges’ confidence in the pastry candidates based on the previous challenging semi-finals, it the first time that all the finalists in this category have not been successful.

Brian J. Turner CBE, president of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, commented “Like fine wines, some years produce great vintages, some years are less fruitful. This prominent award is based on perfection. The judges, experienced industry professionals and MCA holders themselves, are looking for candidates to deliver the highest standards under the extremes of pressure that working in the catering industry demands on a day-to-day basis.

“It is for this reason that only a very few candidates ever achieve this standard. It takes real courage to enter the MCA and exceptional skill, to reach the finals. This year we have seen some immensely talented and dedicated individuals yet only seven from two of the three disciplines were able to demonstrate the unique talent to win this esteemed title. We hope that those who were less successful this year will take heart and be inspired by previous winners and that they will contend again.”

Chef Finalists had six and a half hours to prepare and present a Dover sole dish using langoustines, mussels and razor clams, and a partridge dish, each dish accompanied with three garnishes. Each dish was prepared for eight covers, all portions of the Dover sole were plated, and the partridge dish was presented on a silver flat with two plated portions.

Pastry Chef Finalists were required to present a large centerpiece reflecting the theme: ‘The Sea: Above, below or on the seashore’. During the twelve hour examination they had to produce a small centerpiece inspired by their main piece; Pudding Soufflé Royal; three types of confectionery, including Nougat Montelimar, miniature layered chocolate bar and a confection using both pâte de fruit and marshmallow; fruit Pithivier using either pear or apple; Gateâu Succès; and a mystery task.

Together with a commies of their choice, Restaurant Management & Service Finalists were assessed on their preparation and the service of a four-course meal to two tables each, one of three covers and one of four. The menu included Laurent Perrier Champagne, four wines and a digestive.


The MCA 2017 is sponsored by Ritter Courivaud; ACT Clean; Aubrey Allen; Berkmann Wine Cellars; Laurent-Perrier Champagne; L’Unico Cafe Musetti; Speyside Glenlivet; Wedgwood; and Winterhalter.



Inaugurated in 1987, the Master of Culinary Arts 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 award of 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 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 our food sources throughout the scope of the food chain; demonstrate leadership and support the development of others; and act in the best interests of the culinary arts profession.

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.

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 NadellMichel 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 TrainingCompany
  • Paul Williams MCA, Pastry Senior Sous Chef, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Restaurant Management & Service


  • 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
  • François Bertrand MCA
  • Joël Claustre MCA, Retail Operations Director, Searcys
  • Stephane Davaíne
  • 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
  • Robert Rose MCA, Restaurant Director, Clare Smyth
  • Thierry Tomasin MCA
  • Elaine Watson MCA, Food and Beverage Services Manager, The Gleneagles Hotel


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 and sustainability, 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 Adopt a School; its five 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