Record number of female finalists in Springboard's FutureChef competition
Almost 70% of finalists in Springboard's national FutureChef competition are female, which the hospitality charity says suggests more young women are being inspired to seek careers in the culinary sector.
The regional heats took place last month, identifying 12 up-and-coming young chefs from across the UK and Ireland. The finalists will battle it out to be crowned champion in the national final in London on 14 March.
Springboard's FutureChef is a school-based programme that supports the development of life skills while inspiring young people to pursue a career within hospitality.
Diana Marin, 15, West Midlands regional winner and one of the eight female finalists, said: "Until I joined this competition, I didn't realise that it was my passion to cook. It has opened a new path to my future and inspired me to follow a dream I never knew I had."
Jodie Cochrane, 18-year-old winner of FutureChef 2020, said: "After winning Springboard's FutureChef competition, I've been able to pursue my dream job as a professional chef. I'm so grateful to have been given this platform to showcase my passion for hospitality, learn from experienced chefs and develop my own skills. Ultimately, this experience has given me the confidence and ability to secure a fantastic apprenticeship programme at the very start of my career."
Clare Smyth, a Springboard ambassador and former Futurechef winner, said: "The important thing is having visible representation. It's not something that occurred to me when I was younger, I just wanted to work with the best chefs in the profession and there were almost no women at the top in those days – it was mainly men, so all my mentors were men. I try to make sure that I mentor my team. It's important to do what we can to keep this generation in the profession so they can make it all the way to the top, as that will help change things."
The charity has also launched ‘Springboard to 2022', which is aiming to have 10,000 young people trained and ready for work by the end of 2022.