Apprentice chef tipped for Michelin stardom

Bucks Free Press: Connor with his boss Tom Kerridge Connor with his boss Tom Kerridge

A TALENTED young chef is being tipped for the top by one of the UK’s top restaurateurs after scooping a prestigious award.

17-year-old Connor Black, who works at Marlow’s Hand and Flowers, was awarded Advanced Apprentice of the Year 2013 by industry group the Hospitality Guild.

Tom Kerridge, the two-Michelin starred culinary mastermind behind the West Street eatery, said: "Connor is an incredible, driven and valuable member of my kitchen team.

"Connor’s greatest ability s probably his listening skills, it actually goes into his brain. He listens and he learns and he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

"He has a very bright future and could go all the way to Michelin stars of his own. Of that I have no doubt."

Connor received his award at a special ceremony at the Tower of London last week, which featured a speech from Masterchef judge Michel Roux Jr, Chef Patron at Le Gavroche in Mayfair.

Oringinally from the Isle of Wight, Connor has been working in kitchens since he was 13 and the dedicated trainee contacted Tom personally to enquire about an apprenticeship.

And since moving to Marlow and joining the team at the Hand and Flowers over a year ago, commis chef Connor has impressed managers with both his skills and his dedication.

He said: "It’s a massively intense kitchen, it’s busy all the time. But it’s a nice group of people to work with and I get on with them all. It’s a great environment to work in.

"It’s not easy, there’s no easy days at work. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

"I started in a two rosette and now work in a two Michelin star kitchen. I just keep driving on and being the best I can be and it’s working at the moment.

"Hopefully I can carry on and by the end of my career I’d like to own my own Michelin starred restaurant."

As winner of the Advanced Apprentice category, Connor will have one week’s work experience at The Ritz in London, which will be tailored to develop his skills further.

The Hospitality Guild’s Young Hall of Fame and Apprenticeship Awards are run in partnership with People 1st and sponsored by Learndirect and the Federation for Sector Skills and Standards.

The awards recognise talented young people in the hospitality industry and the employers, providers and mentors that support them.

During Connor’s time at the restaurant, the Hand and Flowers was named UK restaurant of the year by Restaurant Magazine.

Owner Tom Kerridge, who has run the gastropub business with his wife Beth since 2005, also currently has the best selling cookbook on Amazon with ‘Proper Pub Food’.

Comments (1)

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5:41pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Bartholomew HuckleBerry says...

All in aid of serving pretentious haute crap at extortionate prices under false pretences. This industry is an absolute joke and its victims, equally dim-wits !
All in aid of serving pretentious haute crap at extortionate prices under false pretences. This industry is an absolute joke and its victims, equally dim-wits ! Bartholomew HuckleBerry

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