steel pans hanging up in commercial kitchen

The MABsterchef awards: celebrating our chef apprentices

The MABsterchef awards: celebrating our chef apprentices

Rebecca Houseago our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 27/06/2022

Every year we host MABsterchef. Yes, you read that right. Think Masterchef, but better.

The cook-off competition is a chance for any chef apprentice to create and cook a dish that will blow our judges away. The competition gets hotter every year, but with amazing prizes including cooking at the PRIDE awards and £500 on the table, is that any surprise?

A big congratulations to our runners-up who will go on to represent restaurants, city, premium and pubs and cook for thousands of people at our PRIDE awards:

● Charley Coleman - Toby Carvery Amesbury

● Peter Skyhammer - Nicholson's, the Punch Bowl,

● Tathan Williams - Vintage Inns, Ye Olde Greene Manne

James Howden Bee, Charley Coleman, Peter Skyhammer, Tathan Williams

But who scooped up the top prize? Let us introduce you to James Howden Bee, a Chefs’ Academy Apprentice at Sizzling Pub & Grill. Read on to hear how he found the day and what the winning dish was.

1. What does being named the MABsterchef winner mean to you?

"I'm very proud to be named the winner of MABsterchef 2022. I was lucky enough to win Kitchen Team of the Year back in 2019. So to now win this, well, it has really topped it off for me."

2. What were your highlights from the day?

"I think meeting all the chefs from different brands and seeing the dishes they had created was great. There was also a huge buzz around the room. You could see the chefs were nervous, but everyone was having a good time and enjoying the experience."

3. How did you keep calm cooking under pressure?

"I was on the afternoon cook-off, but I got there early. This helped because when I walked in and saw all these people from M&B and the chefs, I did start to get a little nervous. But, once I'd been there a while, I became a lot more relaxed. As soon as I was in my chef whites and at my station ready to cook, my head went into chef mode, and everyone else in the room was a blur."

It sounds like James has got the makings to be a great Kitchen Manager, After all, they know all about handling the heat in the kitchen.

4. What's your advice to chef apprentices thinking about taking part in future MABsterchef competitions?

"You need to stick to the brief. Remember that the dish you are creating has to be cooked for over 500 people plus. So keep it simple, and just focus on cooking it well and packing it with flavour!

And, make sure you practice, practice, and practice. I think my wife and the rest of the Manor Farm team are sick of trying duck with different potatoes and sauces."

5. What is your signature dish?

"Well, it has to be my winning dish now... pan-seared duck breast with fondant potato, chantenay carrots, grilled asparagus, served with a red currant and red wine sauce."

Is anyone else wishing they had James cooking dinner for them?

Do you like the sound of a kitchen job at M&B?

Hopefully, James' story has given you a little taste of what you can expect from a chef apprenticeship at M&B. But we know that you might be hungry to know more. Here are four reasons why a chef apprenticeship might be just right for you.

Now all that's left to do is browse our latest opportunities. And since we believe in making the application process as easy as possible, you'll only need a couple of minutes.

Check out our chef apprenticeship vacancies, or head straight to M&B kitchen jobs if you think you've got the skills we're looking for.

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