Cateys 2021: Education and Training Award: Murray Chapman, A Passion to Inspire

08 September 2021
Cateys 2021: Education and Training Award: Murray Chapman, A Passion to Inspire

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This year the Education and Training Award goes to an individual who has demonstrated an innovative approach to continuous learning for hospitality students across the country. Murray Chapman has added value and demonstrated repeatedly his ‘passion to inspire' and the endless possibilities and opportunities a career in hospitality can bring.

Nominated multiple times, Chapman impressed with his drive and enthusiasm in upskilling students for careers in the industry. He works alongside colleges to encourage students to enter competitions such as Zest Quest Asia and Young Pastry Chef. His raison d'être is promoting challenges that allow young students to demonstrate their skill and prowess. His projects, which span the country, are of intrinsic value to college lecturers, teachers and business owners, too – all benefit from the relationships formed with chefs and mentors, who continue to work with them long after the competitions have finished.

During lockdown Chapman created an online flavour tour of Asia, teaching students about the flavours and cuisines associated with the continent and describing the sweet, sour, spice and umami flavours. He conjured ideas and excitement for Zest Quest Asia and ensured it continued as a virtual competition during the crisis.

He initially developed A Passion To Inspire to build stronger links between education and industry, working with colleges, farms, chefs and suppliers. The non-profit-making initiative was founded in 2009 and has expanded to work with over 160 colleges. It is open to students at any level, including front of house and kitchen. Through its charity dinners, A Passion to Inspire has also raised over £230,000 for charities such as NSPCC and Teenage Cancer Trust as well as Hospitality Action.

A career chef himself, Chapman worked his way up from a commis before embarking on his teaching career. He now channels most of his energy into developing, guiding and motivating young chefs and their teachers.

His often oversubscribed ‘upskill days' bring to life the concept of levelling up, and offer colleges and industry a unique opportunity to come together. The days expose students and lecturers to the latest tools, techniques, technologies and products, and give an insight into what the working world currently expects of staff. "He is the living embodiment of the passion to inspire," said one of his nominators.

What the judges said

"The support he has given – and continues to give – to the industry is truly remarkable. "An exceptionally dedicated and selfless educator – an incredible example to us all." - Beth Aarons

"His contribution has been both consistent and had real impact on many people. His passion and commitment for the industry is extraordinary and the industry is fortunate to have people like him to inspire the next generation of chefs." - Andy Boer

"An exceptional, well-respected individual who strives to support colleges and students to develop talent, raise the status of hospitality and improve career prospects for all students." - David Foskett

The shortlist

  • Peter Brooks, Compass Group UK & Ireland
  • Murray Chapman, A Passion To Inspire
  • John Keating, Fairmont St Andrews
  • Neil Rippington, the Chefs' Forum
  • Stephanie Robertson, RA Group

The judges

  • Beth Aarons, HR director, Dorchester Collection
  • Andrew Boer, principal, Edge Hotel School
  • David Cochrane, chief executive, HIT Scotland
  • David Foskett, consultant, David Foskett Associates
  • Gary Hunter, deputy executive principal, Westminster Kingsway College
  • David McKown, head of training and quality, University of Sheffield
  • Julia Sibley, chief executive, Savoy Educational Trust
  • Cyrus Todiwala, chef-restaurateur, Café Spice Namasté
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