Compass’ prestigious annual Apprentice Chef of the Year final took place this week. It saw eight Compass apprentices who were successfully selected to compete, show off the skills they have learnt so far, while gaining experience of a competition.
Held at the Compass Group headquarters in Chertsey, each finalist was presented with a box of mystery ingredients and then tasked with creating a two-course meal in just two hours.
The competition was incredibly close and saw Jess Miller – Apprentice Chef de Partie, Chartwells Independent, win the crown of Apprentice Chef of the Year. The winning menu was Chalk Stream Trout with braised fennel, tenderstem broccoli, confit leek, with a leek ash and a leek cream, served with tarragon and parsley oil. For dessert she created a stunning chocolate fondant with poached pears. Jess is studying a level 3 Chef de Partie qualification at Westminster Kingsway College.
In second place was Cameron Tullis – Professional Cookery Apprentice, Levy UK + Ireland and joint third was given to Mohamed Elhrabi – Apprentice Commis Chef, ESS and Diana Onyeka – Apprentice Commis Chef, Levy UK + Ireland.
The journey to the final included developing and submitting menus and concepts taking into consideration Net Zero, sustainability, seasonality and origin, followed by heats in the next round of the competition. All competitors will be part of the brigade of chefs to cook at the annual Apprentice Chef of the Year special dinner, where the winner of the competition gets to cook their own menu for over 100 VIP guests.
Jess Miller commented: “It was such a great experience to be involved in this competition. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during this process and Compass, for the opportunity to take part. I am really looking forward to the celebratory dinner event, where I get to cook my own menu for a huge guestlist.”
The culinary competition was judged by celebrity Chef, Bryn Williams; Compass Group UK & Ireland Culinary Director, Nick Vadis; Development Chef for Chartwells Independent, Leanne Turk, plus Culinary Academy Vice Principal at HIT Training, Mark Belford.
Chef Bryn Williams, who is Compass Cymru’s Culinary Ambassador said of the competition: “These amazingly talented chefs are given a box of unknown ingredients before they start cooking in this competition. It really is great to see how their creative flair and skills have shone through, as they set to work making some fantastic dishes under pressure! The standard was brilliant, a huge congratulations to everyone who took part.”
The finalists were:
- Cameron Coleman – Professional Cookery Apprentice, Levy UK + Ireland
- Mohamed Elhrabi – Apprentice Commis Chef, ESS
- Cian Evans – Apprentice Chef de Partie, Levy UK + Ireland
- Jess Miller – Apprentice Chef de Partie, Chartwells Independent
- Diana Onyeka – Apprentice Commis Chef, Levy UK + Ireland
- Laura Smith – Senior Production Chef Apprentice, Chartwells
- Connor Thomas – Apprentice Commis Chef, Levy UK + Ireland
- Cameron Tullis – Professional Cookery Apprentice, Levy UK + Ireland
Compass currently has 600 employees taking on apprenticeships, with qualifications varying from a Level 2 or 3 to a degree level higher apprenticeship, across subjects such as finance, culinary, events and leadership. This forms a critical part of Compass’ Our Social Promise commitment.