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23rd October 2023

HIT Training announces winners of Fired Up & Un-Tapped apprentice competitions

Written by: Edward Waddell
The 2023 winners of HIT Training’s chef and brewer competitions were announced at the Kia Oval in London on Thursday 12th October in front of 80 hospitality guests.

The event showcased the ‘enormous impact’ of apprenticeships on people seeking and developing a career in hospitality. The competitions, which launched in January this year, aimed to unmask future stars of both the culinary and brewing world.

Jo Start, an apprentice chef with BaxterStorey’s Wellcome Genome Campus, was crowned Fired Up Apprentice Chef Winner and Aureja Jupp, an apprentice brewer at Three Blind Mice Brewery in Cambridgeshire, was crowned Un-Tapped Apprentice winner.

The Fired Up competition kicked-off with the preliminary ‘The Culinary Showstopper’ round open to 885 chef apprentices. The top four were then selected to take part in the Salon Culinaire’s ‘Apprentice Challenge’ at the HRC event at ExCeL London where they faced a live theatre cook-off. 

Three apprentices, Jo Start, Max Hastings and Lewis Weygang, were then selected to take part in ‘The Pressure Test’ where they produced a four-course meal in their workplace. The course that most impressed expert judges was then chosen to go through to the final ‘Team Challenge’ which involved Jo, Max and Lewis leading the brigade for their course, producing over 80 covers for the grand finale Academy Showcase event.

Winning chef Jo produced a fish course of poached lemon sole, ratte potato, tomato, lemon oil and caramelised shallot and a dessert course of coffee ground brownie, burnt orange, tahini and yuzu. 

Max, a commis chef at JKS Restaurants, produced roasted celeriac, chilli, pickled courgette and quinoa, and Lewis, a commis chef at The Horse and Groom Wilmington, made a starter of wild mushroom arancini with basil oil. Both Max and Lewis were named as runners-up in the competition.

HIT Training executive chair Jill Whittaker, said: “We are so proud of all our competition finalists – they certainly rose to the challenge on the day and put on an amazing four course lunch.

“The event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on the hospitality industry and demonstrate how, by working together, training providers and employers really can make a positive difference to the hospitality sector. The future of hospitality is in safe hands with these incredibly talented individuals.” 

The Un-Tapped competition challenged 100 HIT apprentice brewers to create the best-tasting original recipe beer. Aureja Jupp named her Un-Tapped beer ‘A Box of Sparks’ and described it as a fruity pale ale.

Tanisha Bishop, from Bewdley Brewery in Worcestershire named her beer ‘Rootin-Tootin APA’, a fruity American pale ale, and Andrew Thomas, from Hook Norton Brewery in Banbury called his beer ‘Millhop IPA’ describing it as a golden IPA with slight sweetness. Both Tanisha and Andrew were Un-Tapped runners-up in the competition.