Bake Off judge awards RACA apprentices at graduation night

November 2018

Six students on UCB’s cutting edge Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) apprenticeship were thrilled to receive their graduation diplomas from none other than celebrated chef patissier and TV judge Benoit Blin.

Benoit, who works alongside Raymond Blanc at two Michelin-starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and appears on Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals, presented the certificates to the group for completing the course which goes hand in hand with on-the-job training from top UK chefs.

Graduating at a lavish ceremony at Birmingham’s four-star Hotel Du Vin, the successful RACA apprentices - who all also won a silver medal at this year’s Hotelympia, were:

  • Benjamin Webster – The Belfry
  • Tom Rix – The Cross at Kenilworth
  • Drew Morris – Purnell’s
  • Patrick White – Opus
  • Dahnish Iqbal – Purnell’s
  • Charlotte Livesey - Nuthurst Grange

Benjamin was also presented with the Egon Ronay Award as the most outstanding apprentice on the course by Benoit, a RACA member and Master of Culinary Arts (MCA).

John Penn, Assistant Dean of UCB’s College of Food, said he was very proud of this year’s graduates and what they had achieved over the three-year apprenticeship, which results in a highly-regarded qualification coveted by the UK’s very best restaurant kitchens.

“All six did fantastically, both in their on and off-the-job training, and earned their stripes under the wing of some the top professionals in the hospitality sector,” he said.

“Ben, who started his journey quite reticent and unconfident, was awarded the special award after we watched him get progressively better and better, all with enthusiasm and attention to detail. An outstanding student who deserved his distinction.”

UCB is the first institution outside London and the South to offer the RACA apprenticeship, a unique opportunity for young chefs aged 16 to 19 to receive the highest level of culinary training.

As well as working in some of the best restaurant kitchens, apprentices attend UCB each week for a day of formal training, practical work, theory and assessments, alongside chef demonstrations, stages at top restaurants and field trips to food producers.

Find out more about our college and degree level courses within the College of Food.

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