Bury College apprentice chefs went head to head with individuals across Bury as they competed in a Great British Bake Off style competition judged by BBC baking champion Candice Brown.

Bury College Commis Chef apprentices William Robinson and Ben Donnelly showcased their culinary skills during the Village Baker competition, an event which invited budding bakers from across the area to compete at the Village Hotel Club based on Rochdale Road in Bury.

Both apprentices were delighted to be shortlisted to the final stage of the competition after impressing judges with their entries. The bakers submitted original scone recipes which tested their attention to detail and flair for creativity.

The competition welcomed eight 16-18 year olds from Bury College, Tameside College and trainee chefs from across the hotel chain. The day started with a skills test where entrants baked profiteroles and were scored for the taste and presentation of the popular cream-filled dessert. This was followed by a scone challenge where competitors were rated on their presentation, consistency, flavour and creativity.

On-hand to judge the competition was celebrity baker and series 7 winner of The Great British Bake Off Candice Brown. Candice is the Food and Drink Ambassador for The Village Hotel Club group and was proud to support the event.  

The event formed part of the Village Hotel Club ‘Hospitality Heroes’ initiative, which sees the group and its employees provide invaluable skills, employment opportunities and mentoring support to local hospitality college students to help them succeed in the industry after education. 

Delighted to be crowned runner-up of the competition was former Haslingden High School pupil William who is completing a Level 2 Commis Chef apprenticeship at multi-award winning Lancashire restaurant The Fisherman’s Retreat.

20-year-old William said, “I am so proud to have been awarded second place. The opportunity was great as it was my first competition and I would like to compete more in the future. The event really helped with my time management and how to work under pressure. I really enjoy my apprenticeship which enables me to improve in my job role as a Chef de Partie.”

Former The Albion Academy pupil Ben Donnelley, who is a Level 2 Commis Chef apprentice at Red Hall Hotel, added, “The day was really good and a great learning opportunity. I gained skills in handling time management and presentation skills when plating the food. It was great to meet Candice Brown as she helped me with the first task and talked me through choux pastry. My Bury College apprenticeship is great as through this I am aquiring a lot of skills for my future career.”

Bury College Learning and Skills Coach Ken Caswell commented, “The competition was a wonderful event and we are extremely proud to have had two apprentices reach the finals, one placing second and almost finishing first. The event was superbly organised from the Village Hotel Club group and it was a pleasure working with Candice Brown. The apprentices applied and tested their skills and gained competition experience which in turn has improved their confidence. The Village Hotel Club group has recently taken on a Bury College apprentice who will be starting next week and the college is looking forward to working closely with the group in the future.”


Find out more about the Village Hotels' Green Project here: https://www.village-hotels.co.uk/village-green/