Alexandra Cristina Moraru, who started the training programme in March, was named top apprentice at the third of four Chef Academy masterclasses – after also clinching the honour last time round.
She was joined by the four other members of the Chef Academy from other parts of the UK, including Portsmouth and Manchester, at the two-day intensive session held in Brixham.
The masterclasses form part of the wider Chef Academy programme, which was designed by Redefine|BDL Hotels – the UK’s largest independent hotel management company – and Lifetime Training to give those with little or no experience the opportunity to forge a career in hospitality.
The specialist session focused on fresh fish preparation and supply, and saw the apprentices take to the water to catch their own fish and to watch the professionals catch and prepare crab. They also attended a fish auction before preparing their own fish – all under the watchful eye of Stuart Hine, Executive Head Chef at Crowne Plaza Marlow.
Alexandra (24) shone throughout and during post-session work – claiming success by impressing with her filleting, general food preparation and ability to identify numerous types of fish on sight.
She said: “Being named Star Apprentice for this masterclass was extra special as it’s the second time I’ve won the title. We learned so much from the two days – and getting to go out on the boat and see how the fresh fish is sourced was so valuable.
“Fish is one of the more daunting types of food to work with. Thankfully, I managed to put into practice everything I learned. Hopefully I can hold onto the title at our fourth masterclass and earn myself a hat-trick. It’s exactly the motivation I need to keep me focused for the rest of the programme.”
Stuart Hine, Executive Head Chef at Crowne Plaza Marlow, said: “It was a pleasure to host the third Chef Academy masterclass. All of the apprentices did well throughout the two days, facing each of the challenges head-on. However, Alexandra’s natural technique and eagerness to learn really shone through and clinched the title for her.”
Alexandra will be keen to continue her winning streak right up until next year’s graduation – as one of the apprentices will win the coveted overall Star Apprentice award, which guarantees one week’s work experience in South Africa.
Each apprentice who completes the year-long Chef Academy will gain a Level 2 Qualification in Professional Cookery, as well as guaranteed employment at Commis Chef level at one of Redefine|BDL Hotels’ properties for one year following graduation.