Eyck Zimmer crowned in UK's Premier Chef Competition
Eyck Zimmer, Executive Chef of The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, triumphed at the grand final of the most prestigious competition in the chef calendar, to take the coveted title of KNORR National Chef of the Year 2006. Adam Bennett, Head Chef of Simpson’s Restaurant in Birmingham and Simon Hulstone, Head Chef of The Elephant Restaurant in Torquay, achieved second and third place respectively. Eyck Zimmer also scooped the prize for Best Main Course, with Best Starter awarded to Craig Sandle, Sous Chef of The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, and Best Dessert awarded to Robert Szewczyk, Head Chef of Cumberland Lodge.

The KNORR National Chef of the Year competition was contested live at the Restaurant Show, London Olympia, in a specially built competition theatre. The Semi Finals took place over four heats on 18-19 September when 40 competitors produced their qualifying menus under the watchful eye of a live audience and the competition judges, to secure one of the 10 places in the Grand Final. The Grand Final took place on Wednesday 20 September and the finalists* were tasked with creating a three-course meal** for four people from a mystery box of ingredients provided by Food From Britain, in just three hours.

The competitors demonstrated culinary skill, expertise, creativity and determination under intense competition conditions, impressing both the panel of judges, including Paul Gayler of The Lanesborough, Andrew McLeish of Chapter One Restaurant and Lou Jones of the Culinary Institute of America, and the audience. A panel of guest tasting judges also joined the Grand Final to sample all the dishes created by the finalists, including Cyrus Todiwala, Brendan O’Neill, Brian Turner CBE, Professor John Huber and Richard Corrigan. The final decision of the judges was a nnounced and the prizes awarded at a gala awards banquet, which took place on the evening of the Grand Final at The Dorchester Hotel, London.
Winners, competitors, organisers, sponsors and guests celebrated the conclusion of a most successful competition long into the night.
David Mulcahy, Vice President, Craft Guild of Chefs comments, “We have experienced a phenomenal three days of competition with each and every competitor performing to an extremely impressive standard. Our heartfelt congratulations go to Eyck Zimmer on achieving victory in such a competitive grand final.” Eyck Zimmer now joins the exclusive group of previous winners of this most esteemed competition, run by the Craft Guild of Chefs in partnership with KNORR, which includes Gordon Ramsay, Roger Narbett, Kevin Viner, Mark Sargeant and most recently Steve Love, who won the title in 2004.