Weston Chef Named Outstanding Apprentice of the Year

A Weston College Commis Chef Apprentice, Daniel, has been crowned apprentice of the year - beating competition from across the South West.

Daniel joined us on the Level 2 Commis Chef apprenticeship which covers preparing dishes using fresh and raw ingredients cooking meat, fish and poultry dishes, and other culinary skills such as making soups and sauces, either in specialist, ethnic or fine dining restaurants. The programme includes four days with an employer and one day at the College.

We asked Daniel about his experience of the apprenticeship “I would definitely recommend it, it’s a good experience and it’s great to earn money whilst learning your trade. It also shows you can put your knowledge into practical use having done it already. Giulio Ellis, owner of Guilio's Italian Kitchen, was very supportive, he helped source brilliant ingredients to work and experiment with, which I couldn't have accessed myself. I love being in the workplace, it’s been like having a second family and the masterclasses on my course are brilliant.”

Gemma Zaire, owner of Guilio's Italian Kitchen, recalled when Daniel began working at Giulio's, she said: "Daniel came to work with us a year ago when we first opened Giulio’s and we saw something special in him. We asked him if he would like the opportunity to be an apprentice to learn to be a chef, he jumped at the chance. At first, Daniel needed a lot of guidance and help but within a matter of months he has become one of our most valued members of staff."

“Daniel has taken to the catering industry like a duck to water. When speaking with his employer they have nothing but great things to say about his positive attitude, his attention to detail and his ability to work well under pressure. At Guilio's Italian Kitchen, the busier it gets during service, the more they rely on Daniel's cool head.As his assessor, I always find we end up talking about recipes, and different styles of food, what cookbooks we're reading and different chefs or restaurants we're interested in. Daniel is about to turn 18, but he speaks like someone who has been working in the industry for many years who is always keen to try something new and challenge himself, said Grant Spenser, Assessor, Weston College.

Daniel was put forward for the award and was crowned Outstanding Apprentice of the Year in Hospitality, Travel and Customer Service in the contest hosted by both Bristol and Bath Live on 2nd December 2020.

Sandra Bull, Dean of Faculty, Weston College said: “We are very proud of Daniel and pleased that his achievements have been recognised nationally.

“If someone is thinking about a career where they can be creative, have fun, but work hard, then catering is definitely a sector where that can happen.

“There are lots of young people out there just like Daniel, all they need is an opportunity, someone to give them a chance and support them to be their best. The relationship that the College has with an employer like Guilio's Italian Kitchen is a good example of the success that a young person can have when they are given the right support. The pandemic has hit the hospitality and catering industry, but our apprentices are still learning and the employers are temporarily adapting their business models to succeed. It’s an exciting time and we look forward to a time when we can once again sit in and enjoy dinning out.”

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