13th May 2015

An apprentice chef at Holiday Inn Manchester West has taken the first quarterly 'Star Apprentice' title in RBH' year-long Chef Academy.

Daniel Leandro, who started the training programme in March, was named top apprentice at the first of four Chef Academy masterclasses.

He was joined by the four other members of the Chef Academy from other parts of the UK, including Portsmouth and London, at the two-day intensive session held in Liverpool.

The masterclasses form part of the wider Chef Academy programme, which was designed by RBH - 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 first specialist session focused on vegetable supply and procurement, and saw the apprentices take part in Masterchef-style cook-off challenges - all under the watchful eye of Rob Scott, Head Chef at Aloft Liverpool.

Daniel (29) shone throughout - claiming success by producing a stunning 'restaurant quality' vegetable dish on day two.

He said: "Picking up the first Star Apprentice title topped off a great two days. We learned so much from Rob and from our visit to vegetable suppliers, Fresh Direct.

"I did find the cook-offs really challenging, especially the invention test on the first day. Thankfully, my planned dish on day two went down well and clinched the title for me. Hopefully I can keep the competition at bay during the next three masterclasses. It's really spurred me on to work even harder during the rest of the programme."

Rob Scott, Head Chef at Aloft Liverpool, said: "It was a pleasure to host the first Chef Academy masterclass. All of the apprentices did well throughout the two days, facing each of the challenges head-on. However, Daniel's passion really shone through and his cook-off dish sealed the deal. It tasted fantastic and I'd have no problem serving it up to customers."

Daniel will be keen to continue his 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 weeks' 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 RBH' properties for one year following graduation.