Senior chef lecturer Anthony Wright is no stranger to winning awards for his culinary prowess, but being recognised as an inspirational mentor to his students is something else.
Anthony was “delighted” to win Best University Chef Mentor at the first-ever Hospitality & Catering News Chef Mentor Awards in front of more than 200 high profile peers at a glittering ceremony at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales.
In the 20 years Anthony has worked for UCB, he has trained, nurtured and inspired hundreds of students, as well as mentoring colleagues, and is known for having a gift for sharing skills, knowledge and expertise as a role model who leads by example.
As the first chef lecturer to represent the UK at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or and receive the title of Master of Culinary Arts (MCA), it is his second accolade of this kind this year, winning Chef Lecturer of the Year at the 25th Craft Guild of Chefs Awards in June.
Anthony, who spent years working in Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK, said: “I am particularly delighted to win this award as mentoring is very close to my heart. I had a good mentor myself and know the difference it can make. There is so much talent and ability in our students and it’s a privilege to be able to develop this.”
Since joining UCB, Anthony has been instrumental in the development of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Apprenticeships at UCB, and in preparation for the 2017 Bocuse d’Or, he didn’t hesitate to demonstrate the dishes and skills he had developed to his students.
As a result, two students were given the opportunity to act as his commis chefs on an international stage in front of a crowd of thousands in Budapest. He is now preparing former UCB student Nathan Lane for his role as commis chef to Tom Phillips at the Bocuse d’Or ultimate final in Lyon in 2019.
Professional Cookery student Jonathan Hunt said: “Many say lecturers go above and beyond, but chef Wright truly goes out of his way to make sure, even in stressful times, that each student, young or old, feels comfortable and is exceeding in their learning journey.
“He inspires excellence within students and a desire to not only achieve but to strive for perfection in every detail. For some students, this challenge is a struggle and can be too much for them, but with chef Wright, it seems possible. His calm manner and passion relaxes you and gives you belief that, even as a student, you can reach brilliance.”
Over eight categories, the Chef Mentor awards – a precursor to the H&C EXPO, designed to future-proof the industry - were launched to recognise those willing to share skills, knowledge and expertise, act as a role model, are held in high regard by colleagues, peers and customers and take a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.
They also exhibit enthusiasm for their role and others, value ongoing learning, development and growth and provide constructive measurement and feedback guidance.
High profile winners at the awards included Albert Roux OBE, who collected the special Peter Hazzard Award for his lifelong commitment to the training and development of chefs who have become leading names in the industry.
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