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Fraser Rigby

York College ambitious student chef wins national culinary competition

16-year-old York College student, Fraser Rigby, from York has won the 2022-23 (ICG) Inspiring Culinary Generations’ Aspiring Student Chef (16-18) competition.

Fraser, who is employed by Grays Court Hotel & The Bow Room Restaurant in York, is currently studying a Production Chef Apprenticeship at York College.

The competition aims to acknowledge and encourage excellence in the catering industry. The award gives students of different age categories the chance to enhance their skills and gain opportunity.

The aspiring student chef travelled to Bournemouth to compete in ICG’s annual competition where he took part in the final, better known as ‘The National Cook Off’. Whilst there, Fraser was given skills tests before creating his main dish of venison with flavours of cauliflower, chervil and damson. After deliberation from the judging panel and a period of waiting for Fraser, he was announced the winner. On being told that he had won the competition, he said he “felt such happiness and relief”.

“I’m incredibly passionate not only about cooking but also the sourcing of high quality, local and seasonal ingredients, growing my own produce, regular foraging trips around my countryside village and fermenting and preserving things to heighten their flavour.

“Having said that, being 16, I am very new to the world of food and the hospitality industry as a whole, I have a lot to learn as I’m trying to develop my own ideas and style of cooking.”

As part of Fraser’s apprenticeship, he spends one day a week at York College and four days a week working at Grays Court Hotel & The Bow Room Restaurant.

He said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship. I feel like I am able to learn in a different way. It’s hands-on and I’m gaining experience with people in the industry. One day I’d love to open my own restaurant.”

Graham Fyfe, Hospitality Tutor of York College & University Centre said he is “delighted” for Fraser and went on to say:

“It is a fantastic achievement for Fraser to have won The Inspiring Culinary Generations competition. Fraser brings a mature attitude to college and applies this to all areas of his work. He inspires other members of the group, even though he may not realise it.”

Sarah Czarnecki, Director of Grays Court and Vice-Chair of the newly formed York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Forum, said:

“Apprenticeships fulfill a crucial role within the hospitality industry, locally and nationally. A large number of hospitality providers in the region have developed close relationships with local colleges and universities and these relationships have facilitated and enabled a new generation to get involved in the industry whilst completing their formal qualifications. Success stories, such as that of Fraser Rigby winning the ICG competition, should be promoted to highlight the rewards a career in hospitality can offer.”

For more information on our Production Chef Apprenticeship, click here.