Apprentice is red hot in the kitchen

Marc Kouablan is celebrating being awarded the City and Guilds Medal for Excellence, which recognises and rewards exceptional work both in the UK and internationally.

Marc, 26, was nominated for the medal while studying on the Intermediate Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery and is one of a handful of lucky people to scoop a coveted award for his outstanding work. He is now working towards his Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship at Gateshead College.  

Desperate to cook for a living Marc scoured wanted ads in Newcastle in a bid to find his dream job, it wasn’t however, until he walked through the door of catering firm Love Food that he found his culinary home.

He explained: “They were really happy to take me on as an apprentice and I threw myself into the job.

“I had grown up with my mum running her own restaurant. It was what I wanted to do above all else.”

Love Food offers outside catering to the whole of the North East catering for occasions including, weddings, events, parties, corporate catering, private dinner parties and occasion catering.

Marc spends one day a week at Gateshead College, honing his culinary skills and learning trade techniques.

He said: “I struggled with some aspects of language to start with as French is my native tongue but I soon got the hang of it.”

Two years down the line, Marc is an apprentice sous chef at Love Food. Working as part of a small team Marc is able to get involved in various tasks from wedding canapés and sandwiches to soups and exotic main meals.

He commented: “Without doubt my favourite is working with desserts. But it can be hard work. Prepping is so time-consuming but the end result is so rewarding.”

Marc’s course tutor, Andy Dodds also received a Medal for Excellence for his outstanding performance as a lecturer in hospitality and catering.

Course tutor, Andy Dodds, said: “I am thrilled to have even been nominated for this award, but I feel that Marc is the real star here. We are extremely proud of him and all that he has achieved. 

“Marc has worked hard to achieve his goals and this medal recognises his determination, not only to complete the course but the quality of his work as well.”

As Marc continues his learning and fine-tuning he has his sights set on a higher career path, He said: “You never know, I may even be running my own business one day. That would be amazing.”

Marc is now in the running to win a Lion Award and has been invited to attend City and Guilds’ most prestigious annual awards, at a red-carpet ceremony held at The Roundhouse, London on June 5. The Lion Awards, dubbed the ‘education Oscars’, recognises the best of the best and celebrates learning, success and achievement.

Andy and Marc were nominated by Keith Henderson, trainer assessor, at Gateshead College Apprenticeships. He said: “I nominated Marc because he excelled in all of his exams. He has a fantastic attitude and when he sets his mind to something he can achieve it, he’s a model student.

“Andy has worked with apprentices for a number of years now, helping them to develop their skills and knowledge. He’s extremely passionate about what he does and is committed to helping students achieve their best.

“These medal wins are a fantastic achievement for Andy and Marc as individual’s and also for the college. There are only three medal winners in the North East and two of those are at Gateshead College.”