UCLan students help local youngsters to cook up a storm

6 February 2020

Event management students organise and host North West leg of Springboard’s FutureChef national competition

Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are helping local young people to cook up a storm as part of a nationwide initiative to develop the next generation of chefs. 

UCLan event management students organised and hosted the North West Regional Final of Springboard’s FutureChef, a four-stage annual cooking competition engaging more than 8,000 children aged 12 – 16.

The student-led event planning service, EntreEvents, brought together pupils from secondary schools across Lancashire for the North West leg of the competition, which saw 15-year-old Matthew Marriott from Haslingden High School beat nine other competitors with an impressive three-course meal to be crowned the winner. In addition, David Grime, Catering Services Manager at UCLan, acted as one of the judges on the day.

UCLan’s Kelly Henley, Lecturer in Hospitality and Events from the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, said: “The logistical organisation and hosting of this competition proved to be a fantastic learning opportunity for our students. By applying a range of management skills including teamwork, planning, project management, communication and problem solving they ensured everyone enjoyed the day.” 

"I’m so surprised to have won today and I’m excited for the National Final, what a great opportunity! Thank you to my mentor Will Jacques from Craven College."

Matthew will now represent the region in the National Final on the 16 March at Westminster Kingsway College in London in the hope of being named as Springboard’s FutureChef winner.

He said: “I’m so surprised to have won today and I’m excited for the National Final, what a great opportunity! Thank you to my mentor Will Jacques from Craven College.”

FutureChef directly contributes to the national curriculum, fulfilling some of the Gatsby Benchmarks, and gives young people a life skill. It teaches them to cook, explore food and develop a vital life skill. It develops culinary skills, educates about food provenance, health and safety and food hygiene and informs about entry routes to worthwhile careers in hospitality.

Springboard Regional Manager Joanne Greenall said: “Springboard’s FutureChef was developed as a result of research into young people’s ideas about the hospitality industry. Research revealed that young people really admire high-profile celebrity chefs, yet surprisingly few genuinely consider a career as a chef! Springboard’s FutureChef provides teachers and young people with a wonderful insight into the wealth of career opportunities that the hospitality sector has to offer.”

UCLan has also committed to further work with Springboard in order to create additional opportunities for its hospitality, tourism and event management students. Springboard’s GEMS programme offers mentoring opportunities with eight students already being matched with industry managers from a range of organisations including Hilton, Living Ventures and the Stonegate Pub Group.

North West winner Matthew Marriott
North West winner Matthew Marriott