Young chef is in the mix to win top school place
ADETERMINED young chef has chopped, sautéed and flambéd his way to the final of the UK’s most prestigious culinary scholarship.
James Beckenham, 20, whisked through the semifinals of the Cordon Bleu’s scholarship scheme and is now one of lucky 10 candidates out of 81 entries battling for a place at the world-renowned culinary school.
After impressing with his flare and passion for food in the regional area, James went on to survive a grilling from a panel of Le Cordon Bleu judges and secure his place in the final.
James, of Leek Road, Bosley, said: “I am ecstatic to have got this far, to pur- sue my dream in my chosen career at such a prestigious culinary arts school on my own efforts.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to fulfil those dreams and it would be a privilege to be a part of the scholarship scheme.”
If he wins, he will go on to study for a Diplôme de Cuisine, followed by a three month Diploma in Culinary Management at the famous cooking institution, which was established in 1895. The prize is worth more than £35,000 and includes accommodation in London during the course and an internship at The Square, under the guidance of esteemed chef Phil Howard.
James, who is currently studying sports science at Edge Hill University, is preparing to give up his university studies to pursue his dream of becoming a top chef.
The former Fallibroome Academy pupil said: “I wasn’t sure what to do after school so decided to go to university to get some qualifications.
“But I just kept thinking about being in the kitchen, so when the opportunity came to apply for this I couldn’t turn it down.
“Eventually I would like to own at least two restaurants.
“I want to establish myself in Manchester, and rub shoulders with Aidan Byrne and Simon Rogan, the two top chefs that have really helped put the city back on the culinary map in recent times.”
It now boils down to the final, which takes place on Wednesday, July 1.
Le Cordon Bleu, French for Blue Ribbon, is the world’s largest hospitality education institution with more than 50 schools.
It is thought its roots go back to the 16th century and an elite group of French knights who were known for their extravagant and luxurious banquets.
●● The Parkinson family
●● James Beckenham