Rick Stein has praised the work of his latest group of apprentices after sampling their cooking at a Talk and Taste event held earlier this week to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.

The apprentices, who started their training in September at various restaurants within the Rick Stein Group, welcomed Rick Stein to his cookery school in Padstow where they prepared and served their favourite dishes from his new book; Rick Stein’s Secret France.

Senior managers and head chefs from Truro and Penwith College and Rick Stein Group also joined the event, tasting the various dishes and talking to apprentices about their experience to date.

The tasting was followed by the annual presentation of the ‘Kyle Award’, which was presented to the most improved chef from last year’s group of apprentices, who completed their training in September 2019.

This year saw Henry from Rick Stein’s St Petroc’s Bistro scoop the award with managers noting the progression he has made, opportunities taken and additional responsibilities that have seen him promoted twice from his original position of commis chef apprentice to demi chef de partie and most recently chef de partie at the Bistro.

The ‘Kyle Award’ is presented in memory of Kyle Kusano-Puffett, a Rick Stein Group apprentice who tragically lost his life in 2015 while on a day out with friends. Rick Stein was joined by Kyle’s father Roger Puffet who in addition to the trophy, handed over a donation from Kyle’s estate to help Henry with equipment and materials to continue his learning.

Rick Stein commented: “When we are looking for apprentices, we look for enthusiasm above anything else and I’ve seen that today. With every dish I’ve tried, the apprentices are just so into it and hoping I’ll enjoy everything they’ve made. That’s what being a chef is; having a passion for cooking things that people enjoy and taking any feedback on board so you can improve.”