HIT Training announces 2018 Apprentice MasterChef winner

HIT Apprentice MasterChef winner, Adam Leyland Simpson
2018 finalists
14/06/2018 - 07:00
Following a live final last week (6 June), HIT Training has announced the winner of its 2018 Apprentice MasterChef competition, which aims to showcase “the talented individuals on its culinary apprenticeship programmes and raise awareness about the career opportunities that apprenticeships can offer.”

Up against nine other apprentice chefs, Adam Leyland Simpson - currently undertaking the level 2 Commis Chef Apprenticeship at St Bedes College (run by BaxterStorey, Bristol) – impressed judges for the reigning title.

They were each tasked with creating a ‘stand-out’ dish from a mystery box of ingredients in just 60 minutes, as well as four plates of their own signature dish in three hours.

Sticking to the brief of “sourcing their own ingredients which incorporated locality and seasonality, and demonstrated balance in composition and flavour,” Leyland Simpson’s dish comprised: buttered hake with burnt kale, fennel croquette, cauliflower purée with a lemon vinaigrette, and cherry tomatoes.

He said: “It was a tough day, which included getting up at 4.30am to go to Billingsgate Market to buy my fresh produce.

“It was quite nerve wracking competing against such a massive group of people, but as soon as I put the chefs jacket on and got into the kitchen after the debrief, I was ready for it.

“I feel really proud for winning the Apprentice MasterChef competition - there were some really amazing dishes out there to compete with.

“My employer will be over the moon because it’s good to see the team developing and putting themselves forward for events like this, as they further our skills. I couldn’t be happier!”

Praised for producing an ‘exceptional’ dish, judges included: Craft Guild of Chefs operations director, Andrew Green; Mike di Bella, former HIT MasterChef winner and head chef at the Dean Inn Goodwood; Michael Bache, executive chef at Bath Rugby; and HIT’s Jill Whittaker and John Hyde.

As part of his prize, Leyland Simpson will receive a subscription to the Craft Guild of Chefs and an invitation to our annual food festival, a stage at a local Michelin Star restaurant, full Tsuki knife set worth £500 and a meal for two at The Dean Inn Goodwood.

Paul Mannering, principal of the HIT Chef Academy, commented: “We were blown away by the sheer determination and talent demonstrated by the finalists at the competition; each and every apprentice should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.

“It was a privilege to award Adam the title of HIT MasterChef 2018 Winner. He created an inspiring dish that myself and the judges all agreed was exceptional – congratulations!

“Witnessing such an impressive display of skill and passion at this competition shows just how valuable apprenticeships are for those looking to embark on or further their career in hospitality.

“They are equally important for hospitality businesses looking to future-proof their business by recruiting and retaining talented individuals that will, in turn, help to strengthen the industry as a whole.”

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