Springboard FutureChef celebrates 25 years of inspiring the chefs of tomorrow

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We’re marking our 25th anniversary with a celebration of the former participants who used the competition to kickstart inspirational careers in the hospitality industry.

Over the past quarter of a century, the annual school-based competition to find the UK’s best young chefs and industry stars of the future has been a beacon of inspiration for young talent, fostering their culinary dreams and propelling them towards successful careers in the culinary world.

Since its inception in 1999, Springboard FutureChef has captivated the hearts and minds of thousands of young aspiring chefs from schools across the country. This annual culinary challenge has provided a platform for them to showcase their skills, creativity, and passion for the culinary arts. To date, an impressive 214,000 school children aged 12-16 have taken part, demonstrating the competition’s tremendous impact on the nation’s culinary landscape.

The competition has served as a launchpad for culinary superstars, such as April Partridge, who won in 2009. April has since become the highest-ever ranking female chef in The Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year in 2020 and was also the Roux Scholarship winner for 2023. Currently serving as chef de partie at The Ivy London, April’s journey exemplifies the potential the competition can unlock for participants.

Other former FutureChef competitors include Michelin Star restaurateur Graeme Cheevers, social media influencer and our latest Springboard FutureChef Champion, Poppy O’Toole, who will be sharing content, videos and supporting the programme in its 25th Anniversary year and beyond, and Ruth Hansom, a Roux Scholarship finalist, winner of a Caterer Acorn Award, finalist of the ‘Great British Menu’ and regular guest on ‘James Martin’s Saturday Morning’ and ‘Saturday Kitchen Live’.

Meanwhile, top chefs including Clare Smyth, Michel Roux Jr, Monica Galetti and Tom Kerridge have all contributed their expertise and passion to nurture the next generation of culinary stars.

Brian Turner Honoured with New Annual Prize

In celebration of the 25th anniversary, Springboard’s FutureChef is thrilled to welcome David Mulcahy as its new chairman, with chef Brian Turner CBE, who has been involved with the competition since the beginning, becoming FutureChef Life Ambassador. Meanwhile, a new annual award – the Brian Turner Best Taste Prize, sponsored by Wellocks– will be handed out for the first time this year, in recognition of Turner’s 25 years of support for the competition.

Discussing the 25th anniversary, David Mulcahy said, “It is truly an honour to become Chairman of Springboard FutureChef, as we celebrate its 25th anniversary. Throughout the years, this competition has played a vital role in shaping the careers of countless budding chefs, and I am looking forward to contributing to its legacy of culinary excellence. Together, with the support of Brian Turner and our other renowned chefs and partners, we aim to inspire and empower even more young people to pursue their culinary aspirations.”

The competition is supported by leading industry names including Savoy Educational Trust, Hilton, Sodexo, Worshipful Company of Cooks, CH&CO, BaxterStorey, Compass and Nestle. The 25th anniversary celebrations promise to be a remarkable milestone for the Springboard FutureChef competition, reflecting on the profound impact it has had on the culinary world and the bright prospects it continues to offer for future generations of chefs.

For more information about Springboard FutureChef and its 25th anniversary celebrations, please visit https://futurechef.uk.net/25-years 

Published: 4th September 2023

Last edited: 3rd September 2023