Good news, people. The future of the Hospitality industry is in safe hands. Last Tuesday night I met six very impressive young people who were part of the Futurechef initiative from Springboard UK.
The venue for the evening was the impressive Hyatt hotel, the finest in the city of Birmingham. And I, now the big time food critic, had been invited to taste the menu.
The chefs of the future, still in their mid-teens, would be instrumental in the night’s banquet. The names of the finalists were Jess Higgins, Meghan Bell and Kelly Reed. On hand were last year’s finalists, Becky Weston, Bethany Dare and Harvey Martin.
Our hostess for the evening was Rickie Josen, the local mentor of Springboard UK and event organizer. Among the luminaries of the local hotel trade that night were representatives from the Hyatt, the Malmaison, the Hilton and many others, including the families of the graduates.
The night started in the lobby with some cake decorating courtesy of sponsors Kiss Me Cupcakes. We were encouraged, for a small fee, to decorate two cupcakes of our very own to enter in prize draw for later.
I found myself seated on the top table, feeling like such a blagger, alongside Rickie, the HR director of the Hyatt and two chaps from the media. I did a little mingling around the tables and met a few of the parents, who were rightfully proud.
Bethany Dare’s mum, Kathy, had this to say:
“I’m really, really proud of Bethany. She has come a long way from making cakes and scones on the kitchen table to a big event like this. Holding her own in an industrial kitchen is fantastic, and the quality of the food she produces is amazing.”
I was led by the arm into the kitchen to film the youngsters preparing the main course. As you can see from the footage, they were all as cool as cucumbers the whole way through, very assured in the tasks they had been assigned.
By then the head chef was giving subtle hints that I should sling my hook out of the Kitchen so I scurried back to my table in time for the starter. We had a Ham Hock roulade, that was tasty and moist.
Over the starters I managed to get a quote from the Dawn Turner, Hyatt’s human resources director:
“We were delighted to be able to support this event. Rickie has done well, it is good to see the employees of tomorrow with such passion and creativity.”
Then for the main course we had a Chicken breast baked to perfection with potatoes and vegetables. Washed down with a good white wine it hit the spot nicely. The service, I would add, was fantastic.
After the main course we settled down for the presentation of the finalists. We wished them luck and took their team photo. They were hardly phased by the attention and seemed happy to pose for publicity shots.
In all, a great night out and it was fantastic to see that the future of the hospitality industry is in such good hands.