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graduate awards finalist jake mills
11th September 2023

Behind the scenes of the Graduate Awards with finalist, Jake Mills

Written by: David Foad
Jake started off working in a steakhouse whilst going through three years of college to get his diploma in professional cookery. As soon as that was finished, he moved to Bristol for four years where his highlight was getting a job at The Ethicurean, a Michelin green starred restaurant.

He moved to London last October to work at Studio Frantzen in Harrods and recently took part in the Graduate Awards final. We spoke to him after the event.

Why did you decide to enter the Graduate Awards?
It looked like a great experience to learn and push myself. This was the last year I was the right age to enter, and I just thought what's the worst that can happen?

What would achieving the Graduate Award mean to you?
It would mean everything, to see months of hard work paying off would be so rewarding

What would you most like to achieve as a chef and why?
I'd like to own my own restaurant one day. I’m very focussed on sustainability, but I've got a lot to learn before this will happen.

How did you find the mentor trip you went on in July?
It was great to spend time with the other finalists and judges. Everyone has been so supportive of each other. All the suppliers we visited were super interesting and I learnt a lot. 

What advice would you give to a young chef who is considering entering the Graduate Award?
I would say ‘do it’ as even if you don't get through it's a great learning experience, and you get the opportunity to network with the Craft Guild of Chefs.

What do you love most about being a chef and why?
Ever since I could walk I've been obsessed with food, so to be surrounded by this all day is a dream job.

What’s your favourite type of food to cook?
If I'm at home, I love making curries as they are relatively low in prep but always end up being delicious.

Tell us about the best meal you’ve ever eaten.
It's so difficult to choose but probably Paco Tapas in Bristol.

Which chefs do you look up to in the hospitality industry and why?
Probably Grant Achatz is my favourite, as he's been through so much and always kept going and pushing. This is really inspiring, as is his outlook on food.