Young chef is in the mix to win top school place

Macclesfield Express - - SCHOOLS NEWS - ZOE JOHN­SON

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

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