The South West Chef of the Year competition has launched its 20th-anniversary edition, marking two decades of culinary excellence and innovation in the region.

Founded in partnership with acclaimed chef Michael Caines in 2004, the event is one of the most respected culinary competitions in the UK, attracting top chefs, aspiring cooks, and food enthusiasts from across the region.

The 20th edition of the South West Chef of the Year competition features a diverse range of categories and challenges designed to showcase the creativity, skill, and flair of participants. From professional chefs to home cooks and junior chefs, the competition offers opportunities for individuals of all ages and backgrounds to showcase their culinary talents and compete for prestigious titles and prizes.

This year's panel of judges comprises a roll call of the region’s leading chefs, including head judge and co-founder Michael Caines MBE DL, Nathan Outlaw, Hywel Jones, Scott Paton and Peter Gorton. 

Entries are invited in five categories: Professional Chef (for those of any age working as sous chef or above), Young Professional Chef (for those aged 19-24 and working in any position up to junior sous chef), Student/Apprentice Chef (aged 19-24), Home Cook (aged 16+) and Junior Chef (aged 11-16)

Last year’s South West Chef of the Year overall winner was Andrew Jenkinson, now at The Olive Tree in Bath.

This year’s event culminates with the finals of the Professional and Student/Apprentice Chef categories on Tuesday October 29 at Exeter College, which is followed that evening by the Awards Presentation Dinner at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

As it celebrates its milestone 20th anniversary, the competition promotes culinary excellence, nurturing talent, and championing the vibrant food culture of the south west.

Previous winners include Elly Wentworth, Simon Hulstone, Scott Paton and Matt Mason who have gone on to win many more accolades, including Michelin stars.

Michael Caines MBE DL,chef/patron at Lympstone Manor, said: “The 20th anniversary of the South West Chef of the Year competition is a testament to the incredible talent and passion for food that exists in our region.

“Over the past two decades, we have witnessed remarkable growth and innovation in the culinary landscape of the south west, and the competition has played a pivotal role in recognising and celebrating the achievements of our talented chefs and cooks. It is also an amazing opportunity to showcase the incredible food larder here in the westcountry.”

Tickets for the Awards Evening, which features a four-course meal cooked by judges and previous competition winners are available to purchase email