STUDENT chef, Jamie MacKinnon (17), from Perth College, Scotland, has been crowned The Chef’s Protege, it has been announced.
After four weeks of tough competition, Jamie (17), from Perth in Scotland, took the title after a close final cook off, to the delight of his mentor Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kitchin.
On winning, Jamie said: “This is definitely the best day of my life. You can’t really describe how amazing it makes you feel, I don’t show my emotion that much but inside, everything is just going on inside my head just now!”
Jamie’s mentor, Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kitchin, said: “The sense of pride in Jamie winning it for himself, for Perth College, and for Scotland is unbelievable!
He added: “I think Jamie is really interesting because he has really taken on the philosophy, the belief, the passion – he’s just submerged himself into my philosophy.”
Tom Kitchin, Theo Randall and Michel Roux Jr each returned to catering college and from seven young students and after a three-week search selected a catering student to take under their wing and become their protege – Jamie (17) became Tom’s, David (18) from Brooklands College, Surrey, became Theo’s protege, and Michel Roux Jr chose Sophie (18), from University College Birmingham to be his protege.
Over the last two nights, the three chefs brought their protege’s together for the first time for the finals of the competition. Sophie, David and Jamie firstly had to devise and cook a three-course menu to show all they’d learnt.
Tom, Theo and Michel then had to choose two courses that they believed could win them the competition and were worthy of being served up to three of the world’s greatest chefs – their mentors and culinary greats – Pierre Koffmann, Ruth Rodgers and Michel’s father, Albert Roux.
After weeks of training, the young students were judged by the legendary grand mentors – Pierre Koffmann, Ruth Rodgers and Albert Roux – both on the quality of the dishes and how well they had taken on their mentor’s influences.
Jamie impressed the judges designing a Scottish menu that reflected both Tom and Pierre Koffmann’s philosophy of maximising flavor using the best of local ingredients.
His two winning dishes comprised of a starter of Orkney scallops, served on a celeriac puree, with curried celeriac, apple, capers and raisins, followed by a main of toast grey leg partridge with leg stuffed cabbage balls, roast root vegetables, vegetable crisps and a bread sauce.
Jamie said: “Tom has already offered me a job, so I think I’ll be taking him up on the offer – I mean how many people get given an opportunity like that?”
Jamie starts working with Tom at The Kitchin when he finishes college.
Sophie and David have also been offered work in their mentor’s kitchens when they finish college.
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Contact: Sarah Ormerod