May 2023

College student chef and culinary arts professor recognised at national awards

By Melanie Hall

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An “exceptional” student and a chef lecturer devoted to his protégés from University College Birmingham both won top accolades at this year’s British Culinary Federation (BCF) annual dinner and awards.

Known within his class for his ‘hunger to learn’, 18-year-old Sabeya Tikamda, from Erdington in Birmingham, was hailed Promising Young Student of the Year at the glittering evening, which brought chefs, suppliers and industry professionals from across the UK together to celebrate outstanding talent.

Professor Bernard Schumacher, meanwhile, was presented with the Chef Lecturer/Mentor of the Year Ken Fraser MBE Memorial award, which goes to a member of the federation working within the industry who trains, mentors and encourages young chefs to progress within their chosen profession.

"Sabeya shows the desire, passion and ability and is hungry to learn"

Kali Davidson Head of Birmingham College of Food

The 16th BCF Annual Dinner and Awards Evening was held in the ballroom at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham and hosted by Heart FM radio presenter Russ Morris, with awards presented by BBC Midlands TV newsreader Nick Owen.

Sabeya was put forward for the national award as a “very focused student” who had clocked up 100% attendance over his two-year Level 2 and 3 NVQ in Professional Cookery. He now plans to go onto the Professional Chef foundation degree at University College Birmingham in September.

Kali Davidson, Head of Birmingham College of Food at University College Birmingham, which also sponsored several of the awards, said: “Sabeya is a young student who is always willing to learn new skills with enthusiasm, while his coursework is often graded as exceptional in practical assessments.

Sabeya receiving his award at the BCF Annual Dinner and Awards Evening

“He shows the desire, passion and ability and is hungry to learn new processes. His willingness to work in a team and take on extra-curricular enrichments is evident. He continues to progress on his course with drive and an inspiring degree of enthusiasm and is popular with his contemporaries, who, at times, seek his counsel.

“He also utilised his practical skills and knowledge out in industry at his work placement at Fairlawns Hotel in Walsall. In addition, Sabeya was one of the student team picked to work with BBC MasterChef: The Professionals champ and former University College Birmingham student Dan Lee at a VIP meal held in our Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food in 2022.”

Professor Bernard Schumacher collecting his award

The Ice Man: the judges’ pick 

Professor Bernard Schumacher, known as ‘The Ice Man’ by his peers, has been teaching for over 23 years after spending many years in the hospitality industry, working in everything from Michelin Star restaurants to contract catering establishments.

Teaching on both college courses and higher education degrees, he works tirelessly to ensure that students are taught to extremely high standards and are well supported throughout the curriculum. He was also praised for ensuring his teaching methods were up-to-date and relevant within industry.

Kali described him as “an exceptional lecturer who provides his students with more depth of life experiences relative to the industry’s needs of today.

“A humble person who keeps a very low profile, Bernard has mentored many students to success in various competitions, including England’s National Junior Team at the Culinary World Cup in 2010, where they achieved two silver medals and were placed fourth overall.

“A keen competitor himself in the past and known as ‘The Ice Man’, Bernard is well-respected and admired by many in the industry.”

It is the second year running that a chef lecturer from University College Birmingham has brought home the award.

Richard Taylor, a very experienced pastry chef, was the 2022 recipient after impressing judges as a past competitor and mentor to many young students who have gone on to excel in the competition arena and their chosen careers.

Bringing home this prestigious award on behalf of the University is testament to the calibre of chefs teaching at Birmingham College of Food.

Across the department, many chef lecturers have worked in Michelin Star and AA Rosette restaurants and five-star hotels across the world, as well as in senior management roles in hospitality and foodservice.

Find out more about our Birmingham College of Food.

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