Millie marvels as UCB students sweep the board

November 2018

Extra hours of hard work paid off for student Millie Tibbins after she scooped second place in one of the country’s most prestigious competitions for young chefs.

And on a night to remember for UCB, judges at the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year event chose former students in first and third place making it a clean sweep for the university.

Eighteen chefs from some of the country’s top restaurants made it through to the final which was held in our Summer Row kitchens, a number of them working for Michelin-starred establishments including London’s Portland Restaurant and Carter’s of Moseley.

Millie, who is studying on the FdA Professional Cookery course, was one of two students to reach the last stage of the competition and her top notch culinary skills secured her a runner-up finish behind Matt Nicholls from Cheal’s of Henley. Ben Cowley, of Edgbaston eaterie Simpson’s was third.

“I had great support from the lecturers and Tony Wright spent hours with me to come up with the right menu,” 20-year-old Millie explained after she treated the judges to a three-course treat that included a mushroom and tarragon tartlet, fillet of beef and a chocolate soufflé.

“I wanted to do well for him because of all the help he gave me.

“I thought I had a chance of doing well because we decided on good solid food that was tasty and enjoyable to eat. I worked really hard particularly with the chocolate soufflé which was also going to be a bit of a risk. But I cooked quite a few in the build-up and the one I did in the final was the best I’d ever baked.

“The standard was really high and when it was announced that Ben had come third I thought I had missed out because he’s a really good chef from a top restaurant. When they said I was second I couldn’t believe it. I was speechless and so shocked. My mum and dad were there and really pleased because they were both former students at the college.”

The finalists had just two hours to produce a three-course meal for two. The starter needed to be suitable for vegetarians and the menu had to highlight British produce.

Lecturer Tony Wright said it was a proud moment when Millie was announced as one of the winners, earning herself a framed certificate and commemorative plate together with a personalised chef’s jacket.

“Millie is an exceptionally talented young chef with flair and huge potential,” he added. “All the staff are really proud of her. She has worked very hard and put in extra hours with disciplined timed run-throughs and it has paid dividends.

“It is a phenomenal achievement coming second against competitors from such prestigious establishments that have accumulated six Michelin stars between them.”

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