Unilever Foodsolutions has announced that it is stepping down as headline sponsor of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ National Chef of the Year competition.
The company has sponsored the biennial National Chef of the Year competition, which was won by Michelin-starred-chef Simon Hulstone of the Elephant in Torquay last year, for 10 years.
In a statement, Unilever Foodsolutions, said: “In that time, Unilever and Knorr have enjoyed the benefits of sponsorship and helped to build this prestigious event to further enhance the most sought-after chef’s title in the UK hospitality industry.”
Simon Marshall, managing director of Unilever Foodsolutions, added: “We have decided to phase out our involvement over the next 18 months, prior to withdrawing altogether from the 2012 competition, leaving the way clear for others to make their mark.
“Supporting culinary excellence remains a key part of our customer strategy. We have therefore started the process to look for fresh opportunities which engage more directly with chefs in all stages of their careers and culinary associations including of course, the Craft Guild of Chefs.”
David Mulcahy, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “We would like to say a huge thank-you to Unilever Foodsolutions for their support in making this title the most sought after for top chefs in our industry.
“Whilst we are, of course, disappointed, we understand their need to realign their activity in line with their communications strategy and look forward to working with them on the competition in a smaller capacity, as well as other initiatives, going forward.”
Unilever Foodsolutions will be phasing out their involvement during the next 18 months but will not be the headline sponsor for the next competition in 2010.