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Apprentices show off culinary talents during Compass Group UK & Ireland Annual Mentor Day


Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest catering firm, recently put eight of its best apprentices through their paces at the Compass Group Annual Mentor Day held at the Unilever headquarters in Leatherhead.

Under the guidance of the Compass Senior Chef of the year – James Hart – the soon to be graduates cooked James’ winning “Chef of the year” four-course menu for 24 VIP guests.

The apprentices, who come from various divisions of the company, were chosen to take part in the two-day event, as a result of their high performance levels in the past year.

David Bittlestone, Culinary Programmes Manager, said: “Apprentices loved the day and enjoyed cooking with different combinations that we don’t always use on an average Compass site.”

He added: “The apprentices gained an amazing insight into James Harts’ dishes. He also gave up his time to demonstrate some new and inventive preparation and cooking techniques, which were completely new to them.

“The group felt they had picked up some really great knowledge. I have every confidence that these exceptional individuals are going to be ones to watch for the future. It’s great to be able to provide young chefs with an opportunity to cook at this level before they graduate.

All eight apprentices are due to complete their courses in February and are due to graduate later this year.

Compass Group is very proud of its apprentice record. The company currently has 418 apprentices across the company. Altogether, the company has 74 culinary apprentices who are all due to graduate this year.

One of the apprentices chosen for the mentor event, 22-year-old Shannon Loughlin, said: “The best thing about being an apprentice at Compass is the great atmosphere. The chefs are very helpful. A good working environment can be hard to find in a high pressure environment such as cooking, but this is a great place to work and develop our skills.”

During the event, James Hart, from Chartwells and winner of Compass Chef of the year said: “It was a proud moment to see my winning menu served to the VIPs.

“It’s fantastic to be providing opportunities, such as these, for young chefs starting out. It really helps them to build strong foundations and also develop skills that they will continue to use throughout their careers.”

The eight best performing apprentices that were selected are on target for completing their courses. They are practicing the new skills they have learnt in the workplace and some have supported the company with events.

The VIPs were made up of senior executives from both Compass Group UK & Ireland and Unilever.

Following the event, the apprentices also took part in a ‘Curry Inspiration Day’ where they were given a master-class around Indian flavours and cuisine.




For more information contact:

UK Communications Team

Compass Group UK & Ireland


01895 554 999