Catrin, who attends Ysgol Bro Dinefwr school, beat eleven other contestants for the coveted title, wowing the judges with her main of sea bass with textures of bassica and chilli dressing, and a crème brulee with butter shortbread, and a vanilla and balsamic dressing for dessert.
Thrilled about her success, Catrin said, “I’m absolutely speechless, I just can’t believe it… I’m so happy. I practice whenever I can – when I’ve got a fish I’ll fillet it, just to practice elements, just to make sure I did the best I could today.”
Aimee Newman, Catrin’s mum, was overjoyed at her daughter’s success, saying “she’s been training for the last year solidly. You name it, she’s been cooking it. But the whole time she’s been very calm, organised – even today!”
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. Catrin was followed closely by the runners up – with Wojtek Czyżewski, 16 from Castlebrae Community High, Edinburgh coming second, and Imogen Pickles, 16, Parkside School in Bradford coming third.
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.”
David Mulcahy, Food Development and Innovation Director at Sodexo UK, Head Judge, was impressed by the quality of the entrants, saying “I think every year we see the standards going higher and higher, this year’s no exception. I think what stood out today was the level of skill at such a young age, the way they understood the brief, to cook, season, flavour and present to such a high standard, it is restaurant standard food – and that’s what won it on the day.”
These establishments provided fantastic prizes for the all the budding chefs – including £100 for each contestant, courtesy of the Worshipful Company of Cooks, personally embroidered aprons provided by Russums, embroidered chef jackets from Johnsons Stalbridge Linen, commemorative plates and medals supplied by Bunzl Lockhart and Craft Guild of Chefs, skull caps by Tonstate and a Chef Book by BaxterStory. They will also receive the Full Firmdale Experience, full of exciting learning opportunities – such as kitchen tours and Q&As with Executive Head Chef, Robin Read.
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.