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Le Cordon Bleu announces winner for the UK’s greatest culinary scholarship

Published Bernice on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lois Farmer from Leytonstone, East London claims the winner’s title of the 2018 Julia Child Scholarship by Le Cordon Bleu after the finals on 6th June.

Lois’ positive attitude towards cooking is what captivated the judges. She currently works as a police detective and has worked in a variety of careers including a coastguard, nonetheless, her long-term goal has always been to open her own restaurant and cooking school to help young people with ADHD.

The 2018 Julia Child Scholarship by Le Cordon Bleu has been launched to give career changers an opportunity to pursue their passion in the culinary arts. This is timely as a recent survey found that 52% of British residents dream of changing their hobby into a career. 

Candidates from all over the UK applied but only forty-two candidates made it through to the semi-finals held at Le Cordon Bleu London on the 17th and 18th May 2018. After a strenuous process the panellists carefully selected just sixteen finalists who battled it out on the 6th of June to complete the final task.

The finals took place in one of Le Cordon Bleu’s the state-of-the-art kitchens where Chef Eric Bediat, Head of Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu London hosted a demonstration and explained step-by-step the key techniques needed to create savoury Bouchée. The sixteen finalists then recreated the dish based on the techniques they learned earlier and were given the liberty to showcase their creativity by choosing between a selection of ingredients and how they wanted to plate the dish.

Chef Eric who was also a judge explains, “This year’s Julia Child Scholarship has been an exciting journey as we have come across many talented candidates. It was especially difficult to choose from all the passionate finalists, we did not judge solely on the culinary skills but rather we based our judgement on the candidate’s attitude, participation, creativity and aptitude to take feedback from Le Cordon Bleu Chefs”.

Lois has been awarded the outstanding prize worth over £45,000, which includes a place on the renowned school’s most prestigious qualification, the Grand Diplôme® which is a nine-month programme providing training in both pâtisserie and cuisine, a three-month internship at Mere Restaurant under the guidance of Founder Monica Galetti, and luxury accommodation in central London, courtesy of the Londonist DMC which will all begin in September 2018

She will also receive one-to-one mentorship with four of Le Cordon Bleu London’s acclaimed alumni including Private Chef Luciana Berry who is one of the quarter finalists of MasterChef The Professionals, Adam Ashe the Executive Chef at Renaissance St Pancras, Hideko Kawa the former Pastry Chef at The Fat Duck and owner of the Sweet Art Lab, and Eran Tibi Co-founder and Chef of Bala Baya

In the presence of many much-admired chefs and industry professionals at the award ceremony, winner Lois, described how she felt stating:

To win the Julia Child Scholarship by Le Cordon Bleu is a dream come true. The whole process has been a great experience and I never expected to win. It still hasn’t sunk in. To also be mentored by Adam Ashe, Eran Tibi, Hideko Kawa, Luciana Berry and train under Monica Galetti is going to be an amazing experience!

Monica Galetti, founder of Mere Restaurant also speaks her thoughts on Lois’ achievement: “I am just honoured to be a part of this with Lois as I believe training as a chef to be truly important. She has chosen to pursue an optimistic art and is brave to accept this wonderful challenge to invent happiness every day.”

Galetti goes on to share a touching poem of what it means to be a chef: “To be a chef means to be a person of taste, culture and to know how to realise the mysterious alchemy of the different flavours. To be a chef means to be a person of heart with elegance and modesty and to be able to offer happiness to people you don’t even know.”

With over 120 years of heritage, Le Cordon Bleu has built a worldwide reputation in the hospitality and gastronomy industry. With its Julia Child Scholarship scheme, the prestigious culinary school hopes to nurture the best emerging talent in the UK, by teaching them traditional skills and a deep understanding of the latest trends and culinary developments.

Details of next year’s Julia Child Scholarship Award will be revealed in the first month of 2019.  

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