On Thursday 26 November Emily Clark, Chef de Partie at GLG Partners, was crowned Lexington’s ‘Chef of the Year’ at their ninth annual chef competition, LexChef 2015.

Emily admitted she was shocked to hear she had won. She said, “So much time and hard work went into competing but it has been the most rewarding experience. I have had so much support throughout the competition, so it was an amazing feeling to be able to bring home the trophy to everyone at GLG Partners. 

Established in 2006, the competition brings together some of the industry’s most prestigious and experienced chefs to judge the competition. These include The Square's Phil Howard; Michelin starred restaurateur Jeff Galvin, Mark Flanagan, Head Chef to the Royal Household, Clare Smyth MBE, the first female British chef to hold and retain three Michelin stars, and Elior's Food Development Director Peter Joyner.

In the end it was Emily’s superb use of ingredients and technical skills that gave her the edge. Rob Kirby, Chef Director at Lexington, said, “Emily joined our apprentice programme, Lex School of Talent, just two years ago and has gone from strength to strength. She’s an amazing chef so it was fantastic to see her win – she impressed us from day one with her can-do attitude and creativity. We are very proud of her achievement and her menu, which from a young chef shows a lot of skill and amazing potential.”

Emily’s winning menu included a starter of smoked eel, walnut puree, baby gem, dressed with maple and poached egg yolk, followed by duck a l’orange, poached duck breast, duck crackling, burnt orange puree and orange carrots, with a dessert of lemon poppy seed cake with liquorish and fennel sorbet.

Clare Smyth MBE commented on the standard of cooking. She said, “Year-on-year the standard of cooking at this competition has got better and better. It’s amazing to see cooks of such a young age display such love for their craft – there was a lot of skill and they clearly enjoy what they are doing above anything else, which is fantastic.”

This year over 100 chefs entered the competition and the team got it down to seven finalists who competed in the annual cook-off: Emily Clark, Chef de Partie at GLG Partners; Louise Roberts, Lex School of Talent Graduate; Tim Blake, Head Chef at Man Group; Phil Read, Sous Chef at Standard Bank; Kristian Cooke, Commis Chef at Linklaters; James Willis, Senior Sous Chef at London Business School; and Fran Owen, Chef de Partie at Knight Frank.

Phil Howard, from The Square, said all the judges felt it was the most consistent competition of its type they’ve ever judged. He said, “The standard from these young chefs was outstanding – it’s great to see youth with such passion. It’s so exciting to see the general level of craft, ability and cooking in this country is on the rise.”

The prize for Emily’s efforts; a tasting menu for two, with wine, at Phil Howard’s two Michelin starred restaurant, The Square. Emily will also compete in Elior’s Chef of the Year Competition.