This week William Murray attended the final of the 2017 Springboard FutureChef final at Westminster Kingsway College.
The FutureChef competition inspire young people (aged 12-16) to cook, providing a much needed talent pipeline into apprenticeships for the industry. The final was the culmination of months of hard work by the 12 finalists, who successfully outcooked over 9000 of their peers to make the final stage.
A who’s who of the foodservice industry, the judging panel tasked with choosing the winner included David Mulcahy (Sodexo), Steven Munkley (The Royal Garden Hotel) and Ruth Hansom (FutureChef alumnus, Young National Chef of the Year, The Ritz) amongst other illustrious names.
As the finalists waited nervously in front of friends and family, the award proceedings were kicked off by Springboard FutureChef chairman, Brian Turner, with his characteristic, colourful flair. Spring Board CEO, Anne Pierce, declared the day her ‘favourite of the year’, going on to celebrate the FutureChef alumni family, one that has grown significantly since the very first event back in 1999.
When it came time to announce the results, the nervous tension radiating from the finalists in the front row was palpable. This was plain to see when Kieran Jones (Homewood School and Sixth Form, London) was announced as second runner up, and his entire family leapt from their seats with a cheer, tears welling up in their eyes. Before the event, I didn’t expect I’d get emotional, but it was difficult not to get swept up in their excitement. It was obvious for everyone in the room how much the competition meant to the contestants, and the pride their families felt.
Amy Campbell (Hazelhead Academy, Aberdeen) was awarded first runner up, and then, to a third round of rousing applause, Katie Cooper (University College Birmingham) was named FutureChef 2017.
A huge congratulations to these bright young chefs of the future, and to the Springboard team for another fruitful FutureChef competition.