The Springboard Charity’s FutureChef National Final took place at Westminster Kingsway College yesterday (18 March)

Consisting of four heats the competition starts in schools then includes local then regional heats before the national final at Westminster Kingsway College, London. This year saw 14,352 young people enter the competition with 12 reaching the final.  

In the final 14-year old Jessica Mitchell from Glasgow, beat eleven other contestants for the coveted title, wowing the judges with her main of chicken breast with butternut squash, confit chicken leg and fondant potato, and an apple and frangipane tart with a vanilla pod parfait and caramelised apple for dessert.

Thrilled about her success, Jessica said, “Before FutureChef, I had thought about becoming a chef but I thought it seemed a bit scary. Working with my mentor and having the chance to work in a professional kitchen has encouraged me to pursue it as a career.”

Sue Mitchell, Jessica’s mum, was overjoyed at her daughter’s success, saying, “Chuffed! An experience you could never have bought, and it has definitely cemented her wish to work in the hospitality sector. I couldn’t be prouder.”

As sponsor of the first prize Jessica will join Sodexo’s Sports & Leisure team at Henley Royal Regatta where she will get to work alongside our chefs.  In addition to this unique experience Jessica and her family will be treated to a two-night stay, afternoon tea and dinner at the event.

The runners up in the competition were, in second place, Ray Gardner, 15, from Woodlands School, London, and in third, Maisie Speller, 13, Notley High School in Essex.

David Mulcahy, Food Development & Innovation Director, Sodexo UK & Ireland commented: “Inspiring young people to consider the hospitality industry as a career option is so important. That is why we have supported Springboard’s FutureChef competition for over ten years.

“The competition is one of the foodservice industry’s greatest initiatives to encourage young people to develop life skills in cooking and we are proud to sponsor the winner’s first prize each year.

“Well done to all the finalists who have worked so hard over the last year and coped exceptionally well under the pressure of the final live competition.  Special congratulations to Jessica. We look forward to welcoming her and her family ay Henley in July.”

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