A talented trio of young catering apprentices from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Lisburn Campus have recently reached the finals of The Country Range Student Chef Challenge.

After three tense and highly competitive semi-final heats, SERC and seven other college teams were announced as finalists for the Grand Final which will take place at Scotland’s premier showcase for food, drink, hospitality & tourism the ScotHot in Glasgow on 13 March.

SERC is the only college from Northern Ireland to reach the finals.

The semi-final heats took place earlier this month with SERC competing at the City of Glasgow College against 13 other teams to earn a spot in the final.

SERC was represented by Level 3 catering apprentices: 19-year-old Adam Jones who is employed at Novellis at City Quays, Belfast, 19-year-old Matthew McGivern who is employed at Square Bistro, Lisburn and 19-year-old Adam Proctor who is employed Brunel's restaurant, Newcastle.

This year’s theme focuses on the core skills and techniques studied on a second-year professional cookery course, testing the students’ knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years.

Chris Basten, the Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges, said: “A huge well done to the eight finalists and good luck to them all in the final stage at ScotHot. The quality of dishes presented by the students was sensational, showing real technique, creativity and attention to detail with every ingredient. If this is a sign of what’s to come, then I can’t wait for the final.”

Team mentor Ian Thompson, SERC Lecturer from the School of Hospitality, Management, Tourism and Languages said “I am delighted for our young chefs in reaching the finals. The students have put a great deal of effort into learning and perfecting their culinary skills and they have certainly proved that in reaching the finals.

He continued “The Country Range Student Chef Challenge is a brilliant opportunity for students to put their skills to the test and gain recognition for their hard work and determination in pursuit of excellence which will ultimately benefit them in their future careers.”

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