Budding chef Rachel Carson from South Eastern Regional College (SERC), who works for a restaurant headed up by multi-Michelin-starred and 5-out-of-5 AA Rosette-winning celebrity chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, has proved that she has the recipe for success after being named Apprentice of The Year 2018 at the annual Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism.

Rachel is chef de partie at Novelli at City Quays, the 120-seater restaurant in the new AC Hotel Belfast. She was offered the job whilst completing her level 3 apprenticeship in catering in the Novelli kitchen, after impressing Executive Head Chef Jim Mulholland with her culinary skills.

A former St Patricks High School pupil, Rachel said “I am loving every minute of working at the restaurant. I would never have had this incredible opportunity if it wasn’t for my time at SERC. It’s all down to everything I have been taught by my tutor Ruth Doherty and my mentor Jim Mulholland. Without his help, and the help of my Novelli at City Quays senior sous chef John Clark, who has been a great help, I wouldn’t have won this award. SERC has given me the skills and knowledge I need to work in such an exciting and fast paced industry.”

19-year-old Rachel from Crumlin has already proved herself as a rising star in the industry having been named Student Culinarian of the Year at IFEX, earlier in the year.

Jean-Christophe Novelli said “Rachel is an incredibly talented young chef and her quickfire success is testament to her dedication and passion for the industry as well as the high standard of training she is receiving at college. To win such a high-profile award is something she should be extremely proud of. She is an inspiration to other young women considering a career in the industry.”

Jim Mulholland said “I have worked with SERC for over twelve years to help train the next generation of chefs. Novelli at City Quays currently employs three apprentices from SERC. The industry is thriving and having trained, knowledgeable staff is vital.”

Applications are now open for courses starting in September. 

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