Competition and Rules

Below are the rules, judging guidelines, entry information, prize information, accommodation and travel costs.

Round One

Entries:– This initial entry judging will be assessed by a panel of industry appointed judges. By using the species named on the entry forms, and with the support of the competition rules; teams can submit their menus online, in preparation for the paper judging to take place. Successful teams will be notified by email and go forward to round two. Entries must be in by Wednesday 1st April 2020.

Round Two

Culinary Skills: The successful teams, will then go through to the culinary skills judging, which will be held at one of three appointed UK regional hosting colleges. The first 30 minutes of the competition will focus on filleting and preparation (Seafood mise en place) before your team goes on to create the menu submitted in Round One.

Regional Heats

These will take place in May 2020 when the three highest scoring teams will be chosen from each regional heat to go on to compete at the Grand Final on Friday 12th June 2020.

Additional Prizes

As an incentive to inspiring chefs, we have now created three additional prizes per heat. Prizes will be allocated for the Best Starter, Intermediate and Main Courses presented on the day.

Lecturers’ Treat!

For the past few years we have successfully introduced these study tours for the competing teams’ college lecturers. From the time the student teams enter the kitchen (10am – 2pm) to compete, their lecturers are no longer allowed to assist, watch or support their students.

So… we decided to treat them all to a bit of fun! Learning with lunch.

We will take the lecturers to visit seafood businesses, local to the regional college hosting each heat, where up to 10 lecturers will be given the opportunity to see processes within that business, often take part in an activity and hopefully accompanied by a local journalist to promote the event. A guest from each hosting college will also be invited along. This is an opportunity for participating colleges to engage with seafood businesses, which may in future be able to do further study trips for students, take on work placements or even have apprenticeship schemes.

The trip is of no cost to the participants, but invaluable and don’t forget your camera!


The seafood species to be used for this year competition are listed below, however there is a new element in the competition.

Invention Test

Teams going through to the finals in Grimsby will be given an ‘invention test’, all successful teams will receive a list of ingredients and a brief during the gala dinner the evening before the final. They will be asked to come up with a dish to replace their original intermediate course that was presented at the regional heats.

This year’s species will be provided by Young’s Seafood:


Plaice whole 400-500g MSC.

Lemon sole whole, Scotland responsibly sourced/Iceland MSC


Halibut Norway fillets 500g – 900g farmed Global G.A.P certified


Hake whole 1-2kg MSC Scottish

Whole Icelandic haddock 500g – 1kg MSC

  1. No other seafood products apart from the species provided or fish bones/shells for stock are to be used in the competition.
  2. Seafood specified is only to be used on the course it is named for (excluding bones or shells)

i.e. you can only use Haddock and/or Cod on the main course.

The challenge is to prepare, cook and present your submitted menu for six covers. Of the six covers:

  • one will be presented to the panel of judges, on time, for tasting and scoring;
  • four are served to invited VIP guests, for comments;
  • and one will be displayed for photography, guests and all teams to see

Teams are required to bring all their own commodities with them to the heats, excluding the specific seafood species for each course as this is provided by our sponsors. All named products will be provided at each heat and the final. The invention test plates will be provided at the final.

Please ensure that entries highlight the required species amount they require as a total for ease of ordering in preparation for the heats. At each of the heats three teams will be awarded a place at the final, meaning nine teams will compete in June 2020. Teams are scored on teamwork, hygiene, preparation and cooking (see guidelines for an example of filleting criteria). Use the timings provided for the competition found within the pack.

  1. A total food cost of £15 per person is allowed using market values at the time of entry. All other items needed, including garnishes, should be calculated within the £90 available.
  2. Teams must provide their dishes as per the set times. Please see the Heat Itinerary.
  3. Each team should produce SIX copies of their written menu (one for the judging table to be scored out of 10; one for the gallery viewing table; and four for the customer table). Marks will be awarded this year by the judges for any educational and informative content relating to the description of dishes, competing student chefs, allergen awareness, and design and presentation of the menus. Costing lists are to highlight weights and costs of the species and this is to be provided when submitting the entry.
  4. Any fish bones that are required, are to be used from the waste of the species (this can be highlighted as of no cost within your menu costings).
  5. The seafood stated for each course is the species to use for the nominated course and cannot be used for any other course (excluding the fish bones or shells).
  6. No additional seafood products can be used, other than the ones stipulated in the species list.
  7. Entrants must be under 25 on enrolment to their course and studying toward either a full-time course or be a college based modern apprentices.

Please note:

As this competition is fundamentally based upon the judging of craft skills, NO prior preparation, portioning or weighing out of any ingredient is allowed. Students may be disqualified for pre prep or pre portioning.

Students may be disqualified for pre-prep or pre-portioning. Prior to the start of the competition the judges will visit each work station to ensure that no prior preparation has taken place.

Prior to commencing the competition, each team will be allowed 30 minutes in order to complete seafood mise en place. If this time is exceeded no further judging will take place against these skills. If the competitors use the 30 minutes and complete all seafood mise en place, then they can use this time to familiarise themselves with the kitchen and/or finish further mise en place.

Once all the 30 minutes mise en place time is up, judges will call teams to start the competition (preparation, cooking, finishing and presenting).

The language of the dishes is not at stake, but translation must be supplied for those menus entered in a foreign language. Marks will be awarded to teams that can show the judges they have a basic knowledge and understanding of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and sustainability of species used in the competition.

Each team will prepare, cook and present each of their three dishes as follows:

  • One finished plate to a panel of judges, for scoring and tasting.
  • One finished plate to be reserved for competing teams , judges and media, to view at the end of the competition, and to remain in place after the competition for feedback purposes.
  • The remaining four finished plates to invited guests, for dining and comments.
  • All dishes to be presented as if they were to be served in a restaurant.
  • Plates and flats for service should be brought to the competition together with six copies of menu for the guest and viewing tables (Six copies of your menu are required in preparation of the regional heat).

Following the judging of paper entries by the competition’s review judges, teams will be invited to compete at the regional heats which are held at various venues across the UK.

At each of the heats three teams will be chosen to go forward to the Grand Final at the Grimsby Institute.

After spending the day competing the winner of the 2020 UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year will be announced within the award ceremony at approximately 3pm.

The regional menus are based on the original paper entry submission for both the regional and the Grand Final. The competition finishes at approximately 4pm.

1. Entrants must be under 25 and enrolled onto either a full-time course or be a college based modern apprentices.

2. Entry forms to be submitted to Paul Robinson – Hospitality Competition Office, UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year, The Grimsby Institute, Grimsby no later than Wednesday 1st April 2020.

Paul Robinson
Hospitality Competition Office (UKYSCOTY)
The Grimsby Institute
Nuns’ Corner

DN34 5BQ

3.Entry pack to include the following:

  • Jacket sizes
  • Weights of species
  • Recipes (to include method and ingredients)
  • Menu and Costings
  • Weights of species
  • 1 copy of the presentation menu (if successful in round 1, then 6 copies must be provided at the heat)

4.The organisers will not accept responsibility for entries arriving later than the closing date.

5.The decision of the selection and judging panels will be final.

6.No prior correspondence with the judging panel can take place. To do so will result in that teams’ withdrawal from the competition.

7.Food costs will remain within the maximum amount allowed of £90.

8.The dishes submitted will be the ones produced on the day of the competition.

9.The organisers reserve the right to use recipes and other material for promotional purposes.

10.Successful teams that reach the final may change the presentation, but not the ingredients of their dishes.

All entries are to be submitted to the following address by Wednesday 1st April 2020:

Paul Robinson, Hospitality Competition Office (UKYSCOTY), The Grimsby Institute, Nuns’ Corner, Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire. DN34 5BQ

Each entry submitted will include:
A starter, an intermediate and a main course – ALL using fish species specified in the table attached. Plus what cress is included (if any per starter or main dish)

A summary of ingredient costs for each dish, including the method of production for each dish.

Judging (paper entries) will take place in April 2020 and those teams selected for the regional heats will be notified by telephone and email. A maximum of nine teams will then be selected to compete at each regional heat, with three winners going through from each heat to attend the Grand Final in June 2020.

Grand Final Prizes – 2020

1st prize – This year’s winning team gain a mystery prize for themselves which will be announced at the final.
  • £1000 Russums Voucher (for the college)
  • £500 per team member
  • Cookbook
  • Competition Trophy
  • Seafood Competition Medal
  • Prize certificates awarded to the college and team members
2nd prize – £300 Russums Voucher (for the college)
  • £100 per team member
  • Cookbook
  • Luxury knife bag per team member
  • Seafood Competition Medal
  • Prize Certificates awarded to the college and team members
3rd prize – £200 Russums voucher (for the college)
  • £100 per team member
  • Global knife per team member
  • Cookbook
  • Seafood Competition Medal
  • Prize Certificates awarded to the college and team members
4th prize – £100 Russums Voucher (for the college)
  • £100 per team member
  • Cookbook
  • Seafood Competition Medal
  • Prize Certificates awarded to the college and team members

For those successful teams travelling to the Grand Final in Grimsby, arrangements for accommodation and pre-final dinner will be organised by The Grimsby Institute. Drinks consumed at dinner or at the hotel will be the responsibility of the team.

Furthermore, if for any reason the hotel at which the team is staying has a justifiable complaint against a team, that team will be disqualified from the final of the competition and charged the full price of their accommodation and food.

The Grimsby Institute will provide one night stay per team of two and one tutor on the night before the Grand Final. If any further accommodation is required then this will be paid for by the competitors.

Many college teams competing in competitions around the UK are now raising their own funds through sponsorship to assist in travel and accommodation costs.

You may have a local supplier that may want to sponsor your college team.

A fundraiser event at your college is another idea. Why not hold an event to try out your menus on guests with students’ parents and local sponsors attending. Try a raffle on the evening, where prizes are auctioned instead of selling tickets, it can create more and more money for your team.