The chefs of tomorrow

Related tags Young people Chef Gordon ramsay

The chefs of tomorrow
As I got my fix of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares one evening last month, I found myself scribbling down some notes as I planned a menu for a young...

As I got my fix of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares one evening last month, I found myself scribbling down some notes as I planned a menu for a young lady.

Derya Adam is a 13 year old pupil at Highlands school in north London and she has just won her local heat of Future Chef. Now in its seventh year, this is a competition run by the charitable trust Springboard and supported by a wealth of businesses, to encourage budding young chefs to develop their skills and unlock culinary potential.

Future Chef was developed as a result of research findings into young people's perceptions of the food industry. The research revealed that young people regard chefs such Gordon Ramsay and chairman of Future Chef Brian Turner, almost as highly as pop stars. Surprisingly however, few had considered a career as a chef!

The competition addresses these perceptions by not only introducing young people to cooking, but by encouraging and developing a direct working relationship with the industry itself. The scheme provides teachers and young people alike with an insight into what it's like to be a chef and helps them to understand other related career opportunities.

Premier Foods is a keen supporter of Future Chef and feels that the manufacturing industry can really help to motivate young people into taking an interest in being a chef. The firm has given me the responsibility of becoming Derya's mentor and over the next two months I'll be coaching her to create a two course menu for a regional final at Thames Valley University on February 8 and then on to the national finals in the latter part of 2008 (fingers crossed!)

The young people taking part in this competition truly inspire me and give me hope for the future of our industry. I believe we have a responsibility and through Future Chef, an opportunity to change our industry and model our future.

Mark Rigby​ is director of the Development Chefs' Network (DCN) and business development chef for Premier Foods

Related topics NPD