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28th November 2019

FutureChef competition returns to find next culinary star

Written by: Edward Waddell
Springboard’s national cooking programme, FutureChef, returns to find the country’s next up-and-coming culinary star.

The programme offers the chance for 12-16-year-olds to learn about the basics of cooking from industry professionals as well as the chance to take part in a national cooking competition. 

Anne Pierce, chief executive of 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.”

FutureChef is divided into four heats, including school, local, regional and national levels. The school heats and local finals are underway, with regional finals starting soon and the national final taking place on 16 March 2020 at Westminster Kingsway College. 

There are 600 schools and 14,000 students competing for just 12 finalist places. In previous years industry standard chefs such as Bryan Turner, Adam Handling and Ruth Hansom have been part of the judging panel.  

Michel Roux Jr praised the programme, he commented: “FutureChef is exactly what the industry requires to remedy the growing need for new talent by inspiring the next generation of chefs."

Last year the competition was won by Jessica Mitchell from The High School of Glasgow, who impressed judges with her chicken breast with butternut squash, confit chicken leg and fondant potato, followed by an apple and frangipane tart with a vanilla pod parfait and caramelised apple. 

As part of her prize Mitchell was taken to Henley Royal Regatta to work with Sodexo executive chefs and since winning FutureChef she has gone on to cook for Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

Clare Smyth, a FutureChef champion, added: “It’s imperative to support programmes such as FutureChef that not only teach young people about food, nutrition and cooking, but also inspire them to consider a future career in hospitality.”

A range of sponsors, including Hilton, The Savoy Educational Trust, Nestlé Professional, Sodexo, HIT Training, BaxterStorey, Compass Group, Bidfood, The Worshipful Company of Cooks and more, support the competitions.

If you would like to take part in FutureChef next year, visit: