Kristen Nugent named winner of Springboard's FutureChef competition

14 March 2023 by
Kristen Nugent named winner of Springboard's FutureChef competition

Kristen Nugent, 15, from Killeeshil in County Tyrone, has been crowned winner of industry charity Springboard's FutureChef competition.

The finals were held on 13 March at Westminster Kingsway College in London and saw 12 young chefs aged between 12 to 16 battle it out for the top spot.

Competitors had two hours and 45 minutes to prepare a main course and dessert for a panel of judges, which included 2023 National Chef of the Year Ben Murphy, Nieves Barragan Mohacho and Adam Handling.

Nugent, who won the regional heat in Northern Ireland, collaborated with mentor chef James Devine to create her winning main, the smoked and poached rainbow trout, citrus cured rillette, hens' egg, chive mash, soused vegetables and herb butter sauce. Her victorious dessert featured rhubarb, vanilla panna cotta, granola crunch crumble and maple.

She will now receive ongoing support and apprenticeship opportunities from Springboard, as well as a chance to publish her recipes.

She said: "It was absolutely amazing and so unexpected. The first hour went slightly sideways but I stepped back, took deep breathes and after a 30 second break I got myself back together and it went really well after that!

"I am more passionate than ever about pursuing a career in hospitality and I cannot wait to see what the future holds and the opportunities this will unlock."

Poppy O'Toole, judge, chef and TikTok star, added: "I'm so excited to be judging the national finals of FutureChef. It was winning my school's FutureChef competition back in 2009 which made me realise I was good at cooking. From the days of being a culinary student, to working in Michelin starred restaurants to now cooking to 4 million followers online with two cookbooks and being a TV judge, I hope I can inspire the next generation how amazing it can be to work in food!"

Chris Gamm, chief executive of Springboard, commented: "Our FutureChef competition is always a big moment in our calendar and we always love witnessing the talented young individuals entering the industry and exploring their passion and love for the sector and all it has to offer."

Springboard FutureChef is a school-based programme in its 24th year that has supported more than 214,000 young people in their culinary development.

Image Credit: Jane Henderson

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