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15th April 2024

Stories from the Graduate Awards with Pastry Achiever Charlotte Vicars

Written by: Edward Waddell
Talented pastry chef, Charlotte Vicars is currently working at L’oscar London where she is a pastry chef de partie. Last year, she completed the Graduate Awards pastry exam and achieved the grade needed to achieve this prestigious accolade.

She was also recognised as the Highest Pastry Award Achiever in 2023. As part of our Graduate Awards stories, we’ve been hearing about the impact this event has had on her professionally and personally.

What was it that originally made you want to enter the Pastry Graduate Awards?

I’ll be completely honest; I wasn’t sure I wanted to. However, I was actively encouraged by my executive at the time and my lecturer, Steven, from Westminster Kingsway College. I’ve always thrown myself into things and despite not feeling confident, I quickly started giving it my best and enjoying the pressure!

Why is it important that there is a dedicated Pastry Award?

I have all due respect for those in the main kitchen, as I couldn’t do what they do. However, it is almost like a different sport, and it is my passion. Pastry comes with a sense of artistry and precision that deserves to be displayed on its own.

Tell us about some of the experiences you have had since you achieved the Graduate Awards.   

Since the Graduate Awards, I have grown a lot, not only in positions in the workplace, but in confidence. The overwhelming response from the whole team at L’oscar was so incredible! Every department helped me in some way.

Which task in the exam did you most enjoy working on? 

I enjoyed the afternoon tea as this is something I’ve worked a lot on and something I felt I could really show my personality in by developing a menu and show real thought and consistency throughout.

The biggest challenge for me was the timings, I always made myself strict time plans to stick to and organised my work, as these things don’t always go as expected. The second round went miles better than the first, it was a big learning curve for me working in a new place under pressure.

You were the Highest Achiever in the Pastry Award, what does this mean to you?

It really meant a lot as I have so much respect for all those who I entered with as they all were so talented, and I was convinced I wouldn’t receive that award. But it gave me a lot of belief in myself, which I lacked before.

Looking ahead, how do you think taking part in the Graduate Awards will help you professionally?

It is a great addition to my CV and I believe it will show employers in the future that I am an ambitious young chef, as well as give an insight into my skills. I think it has definitely encouraged me to get involved in other competitions in the future, as well as really put myself out there.

If a young pastry chef was considering entering, what advice would you give to help them through the process? 

Don’t doubt what you want to do, take advice from others but don’t let it dictate your choices. Practice makes perfect. Make what you love most as it shows your passion and personality along with your talent and experience.

If you would like to be part of the Graduate Awards 2024 there is still time for you to get involved. Entries are open until 30th April 2024 and it only takes a few minutes to complete your online entry.