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Top chef to judge Somerset Larder apprentices' "MasterChef" competition

Regional catering company Somerset Larder is enlisting the help of Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines MBE to find its next generation of chefs. The West Country’s culinary celebrity will be judging an apprentice competition at the Larder’s Bridgwater kitchen and offer advice on how to progress in the industry.

The chef will judge the apprentices’ meals at a “MasterChef”-style event on 2 December to coincide with the official opening of Somerset Larder’s central production kitchen, where all the food is made for Hinkley Point C’s catering facilities. It is currently being expanded in order to supply other local industries and outlets in the region.

Michael Caines, who owns and runs Lympstone Manor, in Devon, along with numerous other award-winning establishments, said he would like to see the food industry working together to provide better apprenticeships for young people, so has welcomed the opportunity to meet some burgeoning new talent.

Michael said: “One of the most interesting things about the culinary world is that so many chefs begin their career with an apprenticeship, more than any other industry. My aim is to help nurture our region’s future generation of talented restaurateurs, chefs and waiters and for this you need to let them experience high quality cooking. I am pleased Somerset Larder is joining me in helping to drive young people to achieve excellence in hospitality.”

The Managing Director of Somerset Larder, Steve Braithwaite, added: “My big ambition for the business is to recruit more apprentices. The shortage of skilled personnel in the food and drink industry is a challenge we all face daily, so working closely with inspiring people like Michael will give our apprentices the opportunity to get a better understanding of the joys of career in food.

“Our ultimate aim is to make the west country a focus for food talent and to raise the standards and rewards for careers in hospitality. So we are thrilled to be forging links with someone who shares our goals.”

Somerset Larder currently has seven apprentices, qualified and trainees, who are eager to experience the chef’s expertise. Their refined winning meal will be served at Hinkley Point C billed as “inspired by Michael Caines MBE”.

Michael is keen to promote apprenticeships in the hospitality sector. He helped pioneer the Michael Caines Academy at Exeter College, widely considered to be the ‘Oxbridge’ of the culinary world. It aims to nurture the region’s future generation of talented restaurateurs, chefs, restaurant managers, waiters and front of house staff.

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