CareerScope Blog


FutureChef 2018 Cumbrian Winner

At the time of the FutureChef challenge, Sophie Grunshaw was a Year 10 student at Ulverston Victoria High School. She one of two winners who were champions in the school heat which saw over 15 students from across all the year groups compete, with food technology teacher and Aroma Catering founder Nick Hall overseeing proceedings. Sophie then went on to win the local heat, producing two stunning dishes including squid and squid ink risotto having spent hours practising the skills and techniques she was required to show in school with her teacher.


Sophie’s FutureChef journey came to end at the North West Regional Final, as she obtained a well-fought and deserved second place. In preparation for this, she again worked with her teacher, and also local chef Richard Booth from the Lakeside Hotel in Newby Bridge, Ulverston, who kindly dedicated several hours to offer advice and support, as well as equipment to Sophie.

Since FutureChef, Sophie has volunteered her services on numerous occasions for the charity which her teacher has set up - the Aroma Catering Foundation. The charity aims to raise money to send young people to catering college, a further education option which comes with a hefty shopping list of equipment and transport. Sophie has continued to develop her skill and knowledge, and is likely going to compete again in the 2018/19 Future Chef competition.

Anne Pierce, the CEO of the Springboard Charity, said, “FutureChef supports the food curriculum in schools, and provides a pipeline of culinary talent into the vibrant hospitality industry. The FutureChef competition celebrates young culinary talent and inspires them to enter the exciting expanding world of hospitality.


Terry Tinton, Head of Faculty for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Westminster Kingsway College, believes that we need to reach children at this formative age, giving them the chance to experience the subject in a timely manner through programmes like FutureChef.

Terry said, “It’s a really exciting industry to go into, takes determination, passion and hard work, but we need to go back into schools. FutureChef highlights the exciting opportunities there are in the industry to move onto a vocational subject, allowing them to work with some fantastic mentors around the country, and get experience in a large Further Education college.”

Further information can be found on FutureChef at:

Information on Aroma Catering can be found on their website - 



Springboard helps people of all ages and backgrounds improve their career potential in hospitality, leisure and tourism, especially people who experience barriers to employment and those in education. By so doing, we help reduce unemployment and poverty across the UK and reduce the sector’s skills shortages.

  • Equipping with personal, professional and career skills, through first class education programmes.
  • Transforming the lives of people by providing tailored quality programmes, dedicated aftercare and access to work experience placements and ultimately, sustainable employment. At the same time we help our employer partners attract, develop and retain talent.
  • Providing advice and guidance to inform and guide young people, adults and key influencers about the industry.
  • Promoting great place to work, through strategic partnerships with employers, our Ambassador and Alumni network, Government, employment referral agencies, educational establishments and industry bodies.

For more information about Springboard, visit: 

Young Star Chef Podium Takeover July 2018

The Springboard Charity teamed up with sponsor Hilton Manchester Deansgate last week, to put on a Young Star Chef Evening Podium Takeover for one night only, with 17 year-old Ben Ronan from Burnage, Manchester.

Ben, who attends Manchester College, has been working at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate for just three months. He produced a delicious four course meal for friends and family, and invited guests on the evening of Wednesday 25th July 2018 at the Podium Restaurant.

The menu that Ben designed and created consisted of ‘Pressing of Duck’ starter, with black rice and quinoa, hoi sin, air dried ham and petit salad, followed by a fish course of Grilled Fillet of Mackerel, with potato and grain mustard ecrasee, broad beans and cauliflower. The main course showcased “Ben’s Beef” - feather blade of beef, Anna potatoes, carrot puree, chantenay carrots, wilted spinach, Tenderstem broccoli, and jus. The dessert - “Ronan’s Manchester Mess” - was a creation of berries, cream, meringue banana, coconut and raspberry sugar.

During the evening, The Springboard Charity raffle took place, with a fantastic prize afternoon tea for two at the prestigious Cloud 23, at Hilton Manchester Deansgate – courtesy of Hilton Hotels.

Ben said, “I’m thrilled about being given the opportunity to showcase my skills tonight – I’ve been working on the menu for just a month, and I’ve grown in confidence”.

Executive Head Chef and Springboard Ambassador Stuart Duff said, “it is important to raise the profile of young chefs in our industry and give them opportunities to present their skills and abilities. Young Star Chef is a great initiative by Springboard to showcase young culinary talent”.

Programme Manager Joanne Greenall said, “Young Star Chef has made a return to Manchester, and it is now an initiative to work with business partners who would like to showcase the talents of young chefs already working at the business and host a fundraising dinner for the Springboard Charity”.

Young Star Chef is a Springboard Charity initiative, supported by sponsors and business partners to increase awareness of young chef talent in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry. The aim of the initiative is to raise the profile of young chefs, and support talent through opportunities to develop, design and create a menu – and takeover the kitchen for one night only.

About The Springboard Charity

Springboard helps to reduce unemployment and poverty across the UK, enabling people of all ages and backgrounds, and especially those who experience barriers to employment, achieve their career potential in hospitality, leisure and tourism.

We do this in several ways:

  • Equipping people with personal, professional and career skills, through first class range of training and education programmes.
  • Connecting those who are ‘work-ready’ with employers across the UK who provide work experience placements and jobs and at the same time helping those employers attract, develop and retain talent.
  • Providing unique career advice and education materials to inform and guide students and adults and their influencers about the industry.
  • Working with employers, Government, employment referral agencies, educational establishments and industry bodies to promote the sector as a great place to work.

For more information about Springboard, click here

Carl Ridsdale – FutureChef Alumni April 2018

So, FutureChef. It’s a massive competition, massive reach and huge numbers of participants (12,000 in 2018)… but where do all these participants go?


Well, today I went to meet one of the West Midlands National Finalists from a few years back to see how he was getting on.

Off I went in my wee car, following the Sat Nav to a village not far from where I live, to be met by Hampton Manor. Hampton Manor is a country estate – a beautiful country estate. I felt like a princess, except for maybe the fact I was driving a Suzuki Swift and not a horse drawn carriage!

Hampton Manor has 1 Michelin star and 4 Rosettes – the first restaurant in Birmingham to have such – and our FutureChef alumnus, Carl, works here.

I am already in awe of this place, and of Carl. He is only 19, and is already working in a place with an amazing reputation and the recommendations to match. But my amazement doesn’t stop here – Carl himself is a truly outstanding young man.

I was taken to the kitchen by a lovely receptionist, to meet Carl, who at the time was making ice cream. Without even batting an eyelid, he was holding a full-blown conversation with me and making ice cream that smelled divine. Oh, and by the way – FutureChef has a habit of ruining programme managers’ diets.

Carl has recently completed his Level 3 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship with UCB, and is now a full time Demi-Chef de Partie – and one with incredible ambition. Carl hopes to travel around Europe, learning key skills from the best in the business. He would like to go to France to learn traditional French cooking methods, to Germany for butchery, to Switzerland to learn chocolatier skills and so on. He does this so that, one day, he can come back to England and start to climb the chef ladder. Eventually, Carl would like to run his own business, and although he’s still unsure of which cuisine style it’ll have, I can guarantee the food would be amazing!

Carl gave me a tour of Hampton Manor, explaining that he had worked both in the banqueting kitchen, and in the restaurant kitchen. This has given him extensive knowledge of the entire manor – which is a restaurant with rooms, not a hotel with a restaurant. The pride oozing out of him when he spoke about the manor was tangible.

We returned to the kitchen, where we continued to discuss his aims and ambitions, what service was like and what his role is and how he will develop at the Hampton Manor. During this time, Carl was tempering chocolate – making it look incredibly easy – but with my habit of burning beans, I think I will leave it to him. The chocolate would be used for the little mouthfuls of heaven that they serve in their afternoon tea (another way it ruins diets), in a cookie and cream chocolate that genuinely tasted like you were dipping chocolate chip cookies in a glass of milk!

I asked Carl, what he would say to someone thinking about doing FutureChef and his simple response was ‘Do it. I wouldn’t be where I was if it wasn’t for FutureChef. Before the competition I couldn’t fillet a fish, the competition taught me so much and I would not be where I am without it’.

Still contemplating whether FutureChef is the right (free) resource for your school? Don’t ask yourself what have you got to lose – ask yourself ‘what could I gain from taking part in FutureChef?’ The answer? Well, you’ll need to take part to find that out!