A trainee chef at one of the area’s top restaurants has won a prestigious apprenticeship award at a star-studded ceremony down in London.
Conan Brooks (17), who works at Launay’s restaurant in Edwinstowe, scooped the Hospitality Guild’s Intermediate Apprentice of the Year award last week.
The former Ashfield School student is doing his professional cookery apprenticeship through the Charnwood Training Academy in Kirkby and has been working as a commis chef at Launay’s for three months.
In winning the national award, Conan was recognised for his ‘dedication, enthusiasm and initiative’ and beat off stiff competition from around the country.
“When I got down there and saw the competition, it was a bit nerve-wracking,” he said.
“Then when I won it, I was really shocked - I really didn’t expect it, but winning definitely makes me want to push forward even more and try and find the best of me.”
Conan, who lives in Huthwaite, has previously won accolades including the East Midland’s Intermediate Apprentice of the Year and the Rotary Young Chef of the Year.
He also secured a work experience placement at Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Conan was nominated for the apprenticeship award by Charnwood’s academy manager, Craig Harrison, and has been named as one of its ‘star apprentices’.
Craig said: “We are immensely proud of Conan. This award is solid vindication from a prestigious industry body of his developing skills and immense natural ability.
“His journey from where he started to where he is now is a fantastic example for young people, demonstrating the value of progression from school to employment through apprenticeship training.”
Conan was presented with the award at a ceremony hosted by chef Michel Roux Junior and held at the Tower of London.
He was accompanied by his proud parents, grandfather and his boss Alain, head chef at Launay’s.
Conan, who was wanted to be a chef since a young age because he ‘just enjoys cooking’, is even more determined to fulfil his ambition now.
He said: “I would like to work in a Michelin-starred restaurant but my ultimate dream is to have my own fine-dining restaurant.”