The Springboard Charity’s FutureChef has a new winner – 14 year-old Jessica Mitchell from Glasgow, who won the 2019 National Final on Monday.
Jessica, who attends The High School of Glasgow beat eleven other contestants for the coveted title, wowing the judges with her main of chicken breast with butternut squash, confit chicken leg and fondant potato, and an apple and frangipane tart with a vanilla pod parfait and caramelised apple for dessert.
Thrilled about her success, Jessica said, “Before FutureChef, I had thought about becoming a chef but I thought it seemed a bit scary. Working with my mentor and having the chance to work in a professional kitchen has encouraged me to pursue it as a career”.
Sue Mitchell, Jessica’s mum, was overjoyed at her daughter’s success, saying “Chuffed! An experience you could never have bought, and it has definitely cemented her wish to work in the hospitality sector. I couldn’t be prouder!”
All of the competitors have practiced tirelessly over the last year, and it showed on the day – with the young people remaining calm and collected under pressure. The decision was difficult to make, with such a high standard of cuisine presented to the judges. Jessica was followed closely by the runners up – with Ray Gardner, 15, from Woodlands School, London, coming second, and Maisie Speller, 13, Notley High School in Essex coming third.
FutureChef has been running since 1999, starting out solely as the competition. The competition consists of four rounds – or heats – in schools, local, regional and national finals. This year saw 14,352 reduced down to the 12 that took part in the final. Though the competition was a great way of getting young people involved in the culinary arts, The Springboard Charity knew it needed to do more. It was from this need that the FutureChef programme was created, a year-round education programme that seeks to educate young people in schools about food and nutrition.
Brian Turner CBE, the British chef and household name, got involved with Springboard and FutureChef from the competition’s inception. He believes the programme is vital for educating young people about nutrition and getting them into the industry.
Brian said, “there are two reasons why we need FutureChef. The first is that there isn’t nearly enough domestic science and food tech being taught today, so young people aren’t learning the basic skills of cooking that sustain their way of living. Second, it encourages people to develop their skills and enter into the industry.”
The programme is supported by multiple industry names, including the Worshipful Company of Cooks, The Savoy Educational Trust, The Hilton Hotels, Nestlé Professional, Compass Group, Sodexo, BaxterStorey, Fairfax Meadow, Delaware North, Hit training, Caterer.com and Bidfood to name a few.
The winner will be taken to the Henley Royal Regatta to work with Sodexo Executive chefs, including two nights’ hotel accommodation, afternoon tea and an evening meal. The second place runner up will receive four tickets for the 2019 Capital FM Summertime Ball in the Delaware North Box at Wembley Stadium as well as a work placement in the VIP area before the concert. Finally, the third place runner up will allow the winner and their mentor to work with a celebrity chef and the Elior development chefs to produce a fine dining event for 100 guests, courtesy of Elior.
Anne Pierce, the CEO of the Springboard Charity, said, “FutureChef supports the food curriculum in schools and provides a pipeline of culinary talent into the vibrant hospitality industry. The FutureChef competition celebrates young culinary talent and inspires them to enter the exciting expanding world of hospitality.
Growing up in North West London, Holly was like every other girl. Then, just after her 15th birthday, everything changed when she found out she was pregnant. Although she managed to hide it for the first six months, her mother soon discovered her secret – and three months later, her daughter was born. Her happiness would be short lived, however, after the pair ended up confined to a Mother and Baby Unit due to her young age, while authorities attempted to find a solution to her situation. Eight months and 25 court battles later, Holly was released - a single mother with low confidence and no qualifications, unsure of how to build the life that she and her daughter so desperately needed.
Her salvation would come from her Job Centre support worker, who referred her to The Springboard Charity. She attended a recruitment day, and signed up for the Hospitality & Bar Tending Course (Diageo Learning for Life), able to see a future working in hospitality. She sailed through the course, and her confidence grew massively by the end of the programme. Not only was she able to face her fear of interviews and gain a work placement in Hendon Hall Hotel, but the hotel were so impressed with her that she was made permanent, and remained there for two years.
Now Holly has created a life that she’s proud of, providing the ideal role model for her daughter. She’s progressed up to Service Team Leader at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, and is no longer merely surviving – but truly living. Her future ambitions are to provide her daughter with everything she needs, and she one day dreams of opening her own hospitality establishment.
Springboard strives to help those from disadvantaged backgrounds to find employment within the hospitality industry and continuously searches for fresh and innovative ways to let candidates gain valuable experience across a wide range of establishments.
With flexible work proving to be more popular than ever, Springboard is proud to announce its second year of partnership with Coople. As Europe’s largest on-demand staffing platform, Coople are perfectly placed to provide flexible work to our beneficiaries across some of the UK’s most recognised establishments.
Already actively supporting a number of our charitable activities, Coople provides placements for our IntoWork programmes, Diageo Learning for Life, Galvin’s Chance and Hospitality Futures – all of which offer young people career support as well as the chance to develop their skills.
Coople connects companies with people looking for flexible work. Their platform has over 50,000 ‘Cooplers’ in London ready to work at a moment’s notice. With so many flexible staff available, they are able to make planning easier for businesses and help them deal effectively with peaks in demand.
From experienced bartenders and waiters, to event assistants and promoters, Coople allows businesses to create a pool of their favourite workers to recruit as and when they need them. Alternatively, businesses are also given the opportunity to hire ‘Cooplers’ on a full-time basis.
Coople recently announced USD 21 million worth of funding from One Peak Partners, Goldman Sachs Private Capital and Harbert European Growth Capital. The funding represents further investment in recruitment, as well as product and technology innovation. It will also support the company’s continued growth in the UK and Switzerland, ahead of further international expansion.
To date, Coople has raised USD 45 million from One Peak Partners, Goldman Sachs Private Capital, Rothschild Paris Orléans and angel investors.
In addition to the funding round, Coople announced the appointment of Viktor Calabrò, Coople’s Founder, as Executive Chairman with a focus on innovation and thought leadership. Rinaldo Olivari, previously Managing Director for the UK, was promoted to Group Chief Executive Officer, and Anthony Vaslin, previously Managing Director for Switzerland, was promoted to Group Chief Operating Officer.
For more information about Coople, visit: https://www.coople.com/uk/en/
Tel: 0208 338 9333