On 29th January at Leeds City College, 3 talented hopefuls, aged between 12 and 16, took up the challenge to showcase their fantastic cooking skills and battled it out to win their Local Final, gaining a place in the Regional Final and getting one step closer to the National Final on the 23rd March 2015.

15 year old Mason Brown from The Rodillian Academy reigned supreme, impressing the judges, with his winning menu of Cajun Style Salmon with Salmon Crisps & Thai Noodles, followed by Chocolate Baby Cakes with Boozy Cream.

Head Judge David Ford from Sodexo, Unilever said “Mason showed impressive technical abilities, working cleanly and efficiently”.

Springboard’s FutureChef is a nationwide culinary initiative which helps young people aged 12-16 cook their way through a series of challenges, providing invaluable lessons and insight into the culinary industry.

Winner Mason said “I am so surprised and delighted to have won” and his mentor Sam Stewart from The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel also commented “Mason’s salmon was moist with a pleasant Cajun kick, showing a good balance of flavours overall”.

Springboard’s Programmes Manager Joanne Greenall said “The Springboard FutureChef initiative is the biggest and most successful national school cooking programme. It inspires students to learn to cook, introduces them and their schools to well respected industry chefs, offers the opportunity to win fantastic prizes and gain anything from a valuable life skill to an informed career path into the UK’s leisure and hospitality industry.”
Springboard’s FutureChef, now in its 15th year, was developed as the result of research findings into young people’s perception of the industry. The research revealed that young people admire higher profile and celebrity chefs, yet, surprisingly few generally consider a career as a chef! To address this, Springboard’s FutureChef local finals are judged by industry chefs, with the winner paired up with a local industry chef mentor, to work on their dishes for the Regional Final. A range of employers are involved in the initiative and are dedicated to inspiring young talent into the industry.
The 2015 initiative will culminate on the 23rd March 2015, with the National Final taking place at Westminster Kingsway College in London.

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