The eight best candidates were selected from 73 initial applications for the event. For the first time, a Michelin-star chef was among the contestants. The two winners have now qualified to take part in the finals Anuga in Cologne in October.

The eight tasting judges were , , , Jörg Sackmann, , Peter Hagen and previous winners Sebastian Frank and Christian Sturm-Willms. They took on the difficult responsibility of judging the creative 3-course menus anonymously.

Technical judges were Miguel Contreras, Dirk Rogge and Otto Wimmer, who looked for method, technique and organisational skills in the kitchen teams.

Florian Volke’s starter consisted of peas, radishes and pomelo, his main was a beautiful sea bass with broccoli and miso and for dessert he presented rhubarb, butter milk and violets.

Second place went to Cornelius Speinle who served radish-celery, avocado-salmon, cream cheese-amaranth and pulpo crab as a starter, as a main he served pre sale lamb with aubergine, minutina, potato galette and caramelised onion water. His dessert consisted of yuzu grapefruit, lemon and sake.

During the awards ceremony the lucky winners took home an exclusive gold-plated knife by Friedr.Dick and their key to the finals.

The following contestants took part in the semi-finals in Achern:

Christoph Altmann: head chef at restaurant Wilderer Stub’n, Hotel & Resort Schmelmer Hof

Bruno Ebermann: sous chef at restaurant Zur Linde, Oberboihingen

Jonah Ramos: head chef at restaurant Maíz Taqueria, Würzburg

Philipp Schmitz: head chef at restaurant du Chateau, Nürnberg

Cornelius Speinle: head chef at restaurant drei 10 Sinne*, Schlattingen, Switzerland

Simon Stirnal: head chef at restaurant Schloss Loersfeld*, Kerpen

Florian Volke: Junior sous chef at restaurant Opus V*, Mannheim

Christian Weidt: sous chef at restaurant Canaletto, The Westin Bellevue Dresden

The last semi-finals will take place in Vienna on 22 June.

For more information please visit www.kochdesjahres.de

Images ©Melanie Bauer Photodesign