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Last Sunday night I was privileged to be at The Andaz Hotel for a great dinner to celebrate the arrival in London of the 12 National finalists of the Futurechef competition 2015. Now I just happen to be the chairman of this wonderful competition that is a Springboard initiative and sponsored by some very kind people in our industry. The main sponsors being The Savoy Educational Trust and the Worshipful Company of Cooks, very impressive huh!! Thanks to all of our sponsors.
This year over 8000 young people set out on the journey to become Futurechef from schools around the country. These brilliant young cooks had to win various heats set up by schools and colleges before getting to the real serious stuff at the regional's where they had the help of a mentor. The pressure on these young people to become one of the 12 finalists must have been immense. Imagine the disappointment of those who didn't make it along with their teachers, parents and mentors, however just think how elated the 12 finalists must have been.
On the Monday after the super dinner to which teachers, parents, mentors, finalists and past finalists were invited, everyone congregated at Westminster Kingsway College to prepare for the competition. Over 300 guests turned up, many of the great and the good of our wonderful industry as well as a panel of accomplished chefs led by David Mulcahy and Steve Munkleyto be our judges, a difficult task indeed. From 10.30am to 12.30pm, helped by students from the college and by the way they were great, the competitors prepared three portions of main course and 3 portions of dessert from a list of ingredients that they had been advised of 4 weeks earlier. The standard was great and I didn't envy the judges in their job but as usual they came up with the ones that I had chosen!
Tom Hamblet, 15 years of age from Anbridge House School in West Sussex was rightly crowned Futurechef 2015 in a close fought competition and by 3pm he had been crowned, well done Tom!
I do hope that Tom enjoys his year and the prizes he was awarded and that all those other competitors are proud of themselves, this is a great initiative and those who do not compete should seriously think about it.
Well done to Dee and her team and the steering committee, here's to 2016!