Dixon was announced as the winner of Le Cordon Bleu London’s UK Scholarship Award 2017 at an awards ceremony on the 1st of June.
This year marks the 6th year of Le Cordon Bleu’s UK Scholarship Award, which celebrates the evolution of the UK food scene. This year’s prize – worth over £35,000 – includes a place on Le Cordon Bleu London’s prestigious Grand Diplôme, with nine months of comprehensive training in both pâtisserie and cuisine. In addition to this, winner Nathanael will undertake a three-month internship at Virgilio Martinez’s Michelin-starred restaurant LIMA London, under the watchful eye of executive head chef Robert Ortiz. Luxury accommodation will also be provided for him courtesy of Homes for Students.
Nathanael said: “I’m totally overwhelmed but absolutely ecstatic. I’m hugely excited to come down to London, to be a part of Le Cordon Bleu and to be an ambassador for the school. Today was hard, I really didn’t expect to win as there was such good competition but I think I scraped through!”
The twelve finalists went head-to-head in a ‘cook-off’ at Le Cordon Bleu London, where they watched a demonstration from Academic Director Loic Malfait before being challenged to create their own savoury tarts. The finalists were judged not only on their culinary abilities but also on their teamwork and ability to take direction.
The attitude is the most important thing
Loic said: “It’s about how they behave in the kitchen, how they respond to the pressure and how passionate they are. The attitude is the most important thing. In the industry now, chefs want someone with a good attitude and responsibility. We’re looking for hungry people, people who really want to do it. It’s about the whole picture, from the interview to now. They’ve all done a great job.”
She added: “It’s been a very interesting group of people who applied this year. Many of the candidates this year have their hand in the culinary fire already. Not necessarily working as chefs but there’s two of them who organise pop-ups just because they love to share ideas and their ethos of food. We also had a couple of candidates who were very into the ecology of farming and food poverty and it was interesting to hear how they would challenge the status quo and fix the imbalance that we have. That’s something that we support and to see it in students just starting out, it’s really inspiring.”
All twelve finalists were awarded a Certificate of Attendance at the Awards Ceremony.