The Apprentices, who started their training in September at various restaurants within the Rick Stein Group, welcomed Rick Stein to his Cookery School in Padstow where they prepared and served their favourite dishes from his new book; Rick Stein’s Secret France.
Senior managers and head chefs from the College and Rick Stein Group also joined the event, tasting the various dishes and talking to Apprentices about their experience to date.
The tasting was followed by the annual presentation of the ‘Kyle Award’, which was presented to the most improved chef from last year’s group of Apprentices, who completed their training in September 2019.
This year saw Henry from Rick Stein’s St Petroc’s Bistro scoop the award with managers noting the progression he has made, opportunities taken and additional responsibilities that have seen him promoted twice from his original position of commis chef Apprentice to demi chef de partie and most recently chef de partie at the Bistro.
The ‘Kyle Award’ is presented in memory of Kyle Kusano-Puffett, a Rick Stein Group Apprentice who tragically lost his life in 2015 while on a day out with friends. Rick Stein was joined by Kyle’s father Roger Puffett who in addition to the trophy, handed over a donation from Kyle’s estate to help Henry with equipment and materials to continue his learning.
Rick Stein commented: “When we are looking for Apprentices, we look for enthusiasm above anything else and I’ve seen that today. With every dish I’ve tried, the Apprentices are just so into it and hoping I’ll enjoy everything they’ve made. That’s what being a chef is; having a passion for cooking things that people enjoy and taking any feedback on board so you can improve.
“Apprenticeship training is incredibly important to our business; we try to recruit locally, and we need to inspire and teach young people to get them up to speed to work in the industry. it’s gratifying to be able to run a scheme like this and get local people involved and enthusiastic about cooking. The longer I’m in this business the more I appreciate the importance of training, because without enthusiastic, excited people coming in, we’re all stuffed!”
Tony Duce, chef lecturer at the College commented: “The quality of the Apprentice’s food today has been incredible, especially when you consider they only started their training in September and taking recipes from the new book means they haven’t had long to practice!”
If you’d like to find out more information about starting an Apprenticeship with one of Cornwall’s top employers, contact the College’s Apprenticeship team on 01872 242711 or visit www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/apprenticeships.