For the second consecutive year, Blue Apple’s newest and brightest talent has won the Young Chef Award at the Association of Catering Excellence (ACE) Ready Steady Cook competition, which was held on 26 September at Canary Wharf’s East Wintergarden. Following 2018 winner Felicia Amofah is Emanuele Ciafardini, a talented chef apprentice at Blue Apple’s Leamington Spa facility. Emanuele, who came to Blue Apple in 2018, originally took on the role of Barista. However, having shown a keen interest in donning chef’s whites, he has since been mentored by his partner on the night Alex Lovell, chef manager for Blue Apple at the same unit.
As always, the teams of two competitors had just 30 minutes to plan and cook a main course and a dessert, and Emanuele and Alex quickly decided on an impressive menu that would ultimately wow the judges on the night. Treacle glazed pork fillet with butternut fondants, caramelized shallots, pickled beetroot and a red wine sauce was first up, followed by stem ginger cake with roasted pear, blackberry sauce and a honey cream.
On winning the Young Chef Award, Emanuele commented: “It was an amazing experience for me and I’m so happy to have been paired with Alex on the night. We work so well together ever day so it really helped me to relax and to focus on the cooking at the event. This has made me even more confident that cooking is the career path I want to follow and I am so excited about the opportunity to work with Adam Handling at The Frog (Covent Garden) as part of the prize.”
Commenting on Emanuele’s win, his mentor Alex Lovell said: “This is amazing news for Emanuele, who has approached his new role in the kitchen with the same passion he has for making great coffee. He has shown great promise from day one and to win Young Chef at his first ever competition is testament to the hard work he puts in every day. Blue Apple has always been keen to drive its apprenticeship scheme forward, and wins such as these add to the belief that the way we are approaching them is having a really positive impact.”