A Belfast Metropolitan College hospitality student will be getting tips from two of the UK’s top chefs after winning a major new bursary.
Patryk Sojka, 19, from Glengormley, is the first recipient of the Tesco Home Grown Talent Award.
A key element of the Tesco-backed bursary is exposure to world class working environments.
And Patryk will be getting a taste of that next month when he jets off to London to meet up with both Gordon Ramsay and Tom Kerridge.
In mid-June, he will spend a week in three of Gordon Ramsay’s finest London restaurants, Maze in Mayfair, London House in Battersea and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, which has three Michelin stars.
At the end of next month, Patryk will be spending time in the kitchen of Tom Kerridge’s Hand in Flowers in Marlow, which has two Michelin stars.
“Naturally, I am delighted to have won the Tesco bursary and this unique training experience which will further develop my skills. I’m really looking forward to my trip to London. Working with chefs at the top of the industry will be a fantastic learning opportunity for me,” said Patryk.
Ciaomhie Mannion, Tesco’s marketing manager in Northern Ireland, said: “The Tesco Home Grown Talent Award demonstrates Tesco’s support for new talent and world class people development, and hopefully helping to nurture a Michelin Star chef.”
Tesco’s support for the award has kick-started an ongoing partnership which will see the company supporting many more BMC initiatives.
Patryk is currently undertaking the NVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery course at Belfast Met’s Titanic Quarter campus and hopes to progress to Level 3 in September. He also works part-time in a local restaurant.
Apart from securing the Tesco bursary following a tough application process, Patryk has been gaining other accolades this year. He was chosen as head chef of La Parade des Chefs after a competitive cook-off at the IFEX food exhibition at the King’s Hall in Belfast in March. And he has been named Belfast Met Student Chef of the Year.
The bursary is organised by Belfast Met Trust, a charitable organisation wholly owned by Belfast Met.
Since 2006-07, the trust has awarded more than 100 bursaries to Belfast Met students.
The bursaries require students to design, deliver and evaluate projects to enhance their employability and personal development. Travel is often involved as students seek to explore and learn from world class practice in their field of study and intended career.
Kevin Lavery, Belfast Met’s head of school for creative and service industries, said the Tesco award would help Patryk to develop his career by gaining invaluable experience through his high profile placements. “
“This is a life changing opportunity that will enable him to follow a stellar path to success in a highly competitive industry. We are so proud of Patryk’s dedication, passion and creativity that has led him to this great achievement. It also confirms the confidence Tesco has in the College’s high standard of training in the professional cookery industry,” he added.