The contestants in Oxford's Junior Chef Of The Year Award

The Oxford Junior Chef of The Year finalists have been announced after a fierce 2-hour cook off competition judged by a team of eight professional chefs. And three of the four finalists are female for the first time ever!

Asia Michelis won the fish section

11 candidates from across Oxfordshire took part in the competition run by City of Oxford Guild of Chefs and aimed at anyone who’s been cooking in a professional kitchen for up to four years, whatever their age.

The brief was to cook four different kinds of canapes from scratch at the cook off in the City of Oxford College kitchens, covering meat, fish, vegetarian and plant based categories, while being assessed by an elite team of professional chefs.

Joanne Carr Veggie category

The event was organised by the City of Oxford Guild of Chefs, which aims to promote the catering industry within Oxfordshire and encourage more people into the industry.

A winner in each category was then chosen by the judges, who marked the candidates on kitchen performance as well as taste.

Elycia Rayner Plant based category

The winners were Joanna Carr from Somerville College in the vegetarian section, Asia Michelis in the fish section from SAID Business School, Max Fijak from Worcester College in the meat section and Elycia Rayner from New College won the plant based category.

Max Fijak Meat category

The three finalists will serve their winning canapes at the City of Oxford Guild of Chefs gala dinner tomorrow night at Keble College for 200 guests, when the overall winner will be announced.

The winner will also be attending the OXINABOX FOOD AWARDS on Monday at The North Wall where they will be re-presented with their trophy.

The judges at Oxford’s Junior Chef Of The Year Award

City of Oxford Guild of Chefs Ben Gibbon said: “There is a big hole in the industry at the moment thanks to Brexit and Covid, which we need to fill. I hope the tide is turning but we are still struggling to employ people here in Oxfordshire.

“And while the City of Oxford Guild of Chefs was set up (in 1968) to shine a light on the catering going on within colleges, we are now extending that out to the whole industry in Oxfordshire to help try to solve this problem together,” he says.