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Young York Chef Makes National Finals


6:00am 17th March 2013

14 year old Connor Blades from Barlby High School, York has cooked his way into the National Finals of Springboard’s FutureChef 2013 competition. We'll find out later today if he's this years winner.

Springboard’s FutureChef, is a nationwide culinary competition which is delivered in over 500 schools nationwide.  The main goal of the FutureChef competition is to assist young people aged 12-16 to learn the critical life skills of cooking and understanding nutrition as well as providing invaluable insight into and inspiration for building a career within the hospitality industry.

The talented hopefuls began their challenge back in September 2012 and have already succeeded in two previous rounds of competition as they cooked for a place in this year’s final. On the 14th February Connor Blades reigned supreme, impressing the judges, with his winning menu of Pan-fried Breast of Pigeon with a Wild Mushroom and Pearl Barley Risotto, Chantennay Carrots, Cavelo Nero, Coffee Jelly, Coffee Foam and Red Wine Jus, followed by Chocolate and Cherry Garden; Hot Chocolate Fondant, Chocolate Soil, Kirsch-soaked Cherries, Pistachio Cream, which according to the judges he delivered with the confidence of a professional.

Head Judge Norman Dinsdale said Connor wowed us with his complete focus, highly organised and calm approach to working in such a pressured environment and at the same time, he displayed excellent knives skills, good workmanship and a real understanding of the techniques to produce great food.  I’ve worked with professionals who would have been delighted to have produced the results Connor did and he really stood out today.  I’m very proud to be part of the Springboard FutureChef programme and it’s so encouraging to know that there is a new generation of chefs with the talent to succeed in this wonderful industry.”

Winner Connor Blades said “I’m absolutely delighted to have won and I couldn’t have done it without my mentor Chris Finnigan. I can’t wait for the National Final”.

Springboard Regional Manager Joanne Wood said “Springboard’s FutureChef was developed as a result of research into young people’s ideas about the hospitality industry.  Our research revealed that young people really admire high-profile and celebrity chefs yet surprisingly few genuinely consider a career as a chef!  The FutureChef programme provides teachers and young people with a wonderful insight into the wealth of career opportunities that the hospitality sector.”

The 2013 Competition will culminate today (18th March) with the National Final taking place at Westminster Kingsway College in London. This year has witnessed an enormous 8,768 students from throughout the UK participate in the Competition.  

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