Jose Ferreira, from The Sussex Ox in Polegate, and Michael Sutherland, from The Star Inn in Alfriston, are among six chefs that have been selected to compete in a Masterchef-style cook-off later this month.
The contest will decide who wins the title of young chef of the year in the 2017 Sussex Food and Drink Awards.
It will take place at the Amex Stadium, in Falmer, on October 27.
Jose, 25, and Michael, 23, who was a finalist in the last awards, will go head to head with three West Sussex chefs: Rachel Burroughs, 22, from South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding, Adam Sear, 23, from The Fox Eating and Drinking House in West Hoathly, and Anna Shopland, 23, from The Fountain Inn in Ashurst. Joining them is Mark Smith, 25, from The Ginger Pig in Brighton.
The candidates, who were nominated by the public and then shortlisted by a panel of judges, will have 90 minutes to create a three-course menu using local and seasonal ingredients.
Malcolm Emery, principal chef, and David Mulcahy, craft and food development director, of Sodexo Prestige, which is sponsoring the award category, will head up the judging panel. Joining them for the first time will be Great British Menu champion Matt Gillan.
Mr Emery said: “The cook-off is a really tough test for all these talented young men and women and they really have to deliver under pressure.
“The nominations we have received this year are extremely impressive and the taste, presentation, creativity, saleability, sourcing of ingredients and consumer appeal of their menus will all be carefully considered by the judges.”
The winners and runners-up of all 10 categories of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards will receive their trophies at a ceremony hosted by Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell, OBE, patron of the awards, and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex at the Amex Stadium on February 1.
For more details, visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz