Winner of Springboard’s FutureChef 2017 Announced


Katie Cooper, 16, from University College Birmingham, won Springboard’s FutureChef 2017 cooking competition, beating over 9,000 12-16 year olds from across the UK in the process. FutureChef has now seen over 100,000 school pupils involved since it began in 2000.

On hearing she won Springboard’s FutureChef 2017 Katie said: “It’s taken me three years to reach the National Final. It’s great to have made it and to have won. I see myself going on in the industry and going as far as possible, possibly opening my own restaurant.”

Katie served up a menu of pan-fried sea bass with cauliflower puree and a red wine reduction, followed by a dessert of chocolate cheesecake with raspberry and caramel shards. She was mentored by Anthony Wright, University College Birmingham.

Speaking at the National Final, Anne Pierce, Springboard’s Chief Executive, said: “Congratulations to all of our hard-working, committed finalists – they have all been part of a great FutureChef. It really is amazing to see the quality of work by young chefs improve year on year, the talent we see as a result of the Springboard FutureChef initiative is remarkable and Katie is a true winner.”

Brian Turner OBE, FutureChef Chairman, added: “It has been a fantastic day and it’s good to see so many dedicated young people with so much talent. Thanks must also go to teachers and mentors who make such a great contribution to the success of the event. Katie  is a great winner.”

First place: Katie Cooper, 16, University College Birmingham, Birmingham

This year’s winner receives a visit to Ascot, courtesy of sponsor Sodexo. The winner will work with top chefs and they and their guests will enjoy Ascot’s full hospitality. Their school also receives a voucher to the value of £500 courtesy of Bunzl Lockhart.

Second place:  Amy Campbell, 14, Hazlehead Academy, Aberdeen

The winner of this prize will be able to invite three people to the Delaware North box at Wembley for the 2017 Summertime Ball. The winner will also undertake a work placement in the VIP area before the concert, shadowing Executive Chef for Hospitality, Mark Reynolds. The prize includes seeing the back of house area at Wembley Stadium, with the winner joining their guests for the concert itself. Courtesy of Delaware North.

Third place: Kieran Jones, 15, Homewood School and Sixth Form, Kent

This prize will allow the winner and their mentor to work on an inspirational dinner with a celebrity chef and the Elior development chefs to produce a fine dining banquet for 100 guests. Courtesy of Elior.

All finalists receive:

–       £100 cash prize from the Worshipful Company of Cooks

–       Personally embroidered aprons provided by Russums

–       Commemorative plates supplied by Bunzl Lockhart

–       Commemorative medals supplied by Craft Guild of Chefs

–       Personally embroidered chef jackets provided by Johnsons Stalbridge Linen

–       Skull caps sponsored by Tonstate

–       Copy of Adam Handling’s book: ‘Smile or Get Out of the Kitchen’

–       The full Firmdale experience, packed full of exciting learning opportunities headed by Group Executive Chef Robin Reed and Group Kitchen Trainer Stephane Cerisier, including demonstrations, kitchen tours, meet and greets with head chefs and the opportunity to ask questions alongside a variety of innovative masterclasses.


FutureChef Sponsors:

The Worshipful Company of Cooks, Savoy Educational Trust, Nestle Professional, Sodexo, Fairfax Meadow, BaxterStorey, Hilton Birmingham Metropole, Tonstate, Hilton London Metropole, Marriott, Hilton, Compass Group, Taylor Shaw, CH&Co, Delaware North, Hyatt Regency, Gather & Gather, QHotels, City & Guilds, Just Perfect Ltd, Bunzl Lockhart Catering Equipment, Elior, Handpicked Hotels, Craft Guild of Chefs, PSL, St Austell Brewery, Principal, Lexington, Firmdale Hotels, The Dorchester, Exclusive Ranges, Thread Needles, Marcus Wareing, Amadeus, Westminster Kingsway College, Stalbridge Linen, Russums, Zest Quest Asia.

Key Statistics:

–       Over 100,000 school pupils have been on the FutureChef programme

–       In the 2016-17 competition over 8,000 12-16 year olds have taken part nationwide

–       By 2020, one third of the culinary workforce is expected to retire, which will increase pressure on the hospitality industry

–       The hospitality industry represents 10% of GDP and supports 4.6 million jobs in the UK