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FutureChef finals to take place at Titanic Quarter campus


Published: 9 February 2022

Belfast Met's Titanic Quarter campus is the chosen venue to host this year’s finals of FutureChef 2022. The College is delighted to be hosting the finals in our state-of-the-art kitchen facilities which boast an industry standard demonstration kitchen with viewing gallery which takes place on 10th February.

The Northern Ireland final of the prestigious FutureChef school’s competition, developed by Springboard and supported by Henderson Foodservice, will see five young and ambitious cooks face off against each other in the kitchen next month, judged by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. The winner will go on to represent Northern Ireland against other UK regions in March.

Joining Jean-Christophe and bringing their knowledge of homegrown produce and NI tastes to the judging panel, are owner of the Deane’s restaurant empire, Chef Michael Deane and Food Development Chef at Henderson Foodservice, Geoff Baird.
Michael Deane has had some of Northern Ireland’s top chefs learn their craft in his restaurants, including James Devine, owner of No. 47 in Cookstown and mentor of one of the young finalists for the February 10th competition.

2021 saw hundreds of young cooks battle it out at the pass, creating dishes hoping to make the Northern Ireland final of the competition and securing what the future pipeline of talent looks like for the NI hospitality industry.

Olivia Drain from Ballymena Academy, Michael Thompson from Campbell College, Ewan McCandless from Wallace High School, Kristen Nugent from St. Ciaran’s College and Faith Belshaw from Newtownhamilton High School have made it to the final and have been mentored by some of the finest chefs to come from these shores.

Aiveen Cassidy, Belfast Met’s Curriculum Area Manager for Hospitality, said:” FutureChef is designed to encourage young people to choose a career in Professional Cookery. We are delighted to be hosting the NI Finals of this competition and watching the next generation of inspiring chefs compete at this level.”

Each finalist will step into their future chef roles on the day, wearing full Chef Whites provided by Henderson Foodservice, to really look and feel the part.

Celebrity Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli who will jet back to Belfast to taste-test the final round of cooking, confirmed; “Springboard’s Future Chef is a fantastic initiative. It is a great way to inspire the younger generation into exploring and developing their culinary skills. I am extremely excited and privileged to be part of the judging for this year’s competition and cannot wait to discover the talent of the next generation.”

And the guest judge for this year’s NI final, Michael Deane added; “I’ve had the pleasure of serving great local food in my restaurants for over 30 years now and have had some exceptional talent in my kitchens. I’m really excited to see what the next generation of chefs from Northern Ireland are bringing to the table and wish the finalists the best of luck for the final.”

Caitriona Lennox, Northern Ireland Manager at Springboard which runs the competition added; “What a fantastic competition we have had in Northern Ireland so far, showcasing the talent that is to come for our hospitality industry alongside some of our top professional chefs.

“FutureChef is Springboard’s flagship educational programme and is dedicated to nurturing and sustaining the workforce of the hospitality industry, alongside a range of employability programmes designed to help young people build skills and confidence to kickstart a career in the sector. Our young chefs have been inspired by their professional chef mentors - learning new skills and creating new dishes, and we can’t wait to see who our NI winner is to go forward to the UK-wide final in March.”

Pictured: FutureChef Judges Geoff Baird from Henderson Foodservice (left) and Michael Deane (right) are pictured with Caitriona Lennox from Springboard outside Belfast Met, Titanic Quarter Campus where the grand finale of the schools cooking competition will take place on the 10th of Febru

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