Sophie Munro from London was crowned River Cottage’s second Rising Star after another dramatic evening in front of 200 invited guests at the company’s famous Park Farm home near Axminster.
The 21-year-old aspiring chef saw off stiff competition from her four fellow finalists to secure a year-long apprenticeship with some of the best chefs in the business.
She will also become an ambassador for the Young Chefs’ Apprenticeship Scheme, moving into its second term at River Cottage HQ.
Founder Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall joined last year’s winner Sam Lomas and the judging panel on the night to put the ambitious quintet through their paces.
We were re-commissioned earlier this year to produce our award-winning online campaign to drive awareness of the company’s expanding apprenticeship scheme.
Using a new set of styles we created an new identity for it that was held some of the similar values to 2013, but felt new and exciting.
The web series for River Cottage Food tube was launched back in July, when young hopefuls were invited to showcase their promise in an entry video.
All the entries were put to the vote by the sizeable River Cottage online audience and were eventually whittled down to 10 semi-finalists, who went on to face the judging panel in a series of online interviews.
The final five were then invited to the Rising Star final, fast becoming on of the company’s biggest events of the year, to produce a ‘Light & Easy’ dish – the theme of Hugh’s new book.
River Cottage has expanded its scheme for 2014 and now takes on twice as many (120) young hopefuls as in 2013.
The organisation have been preparing youngsters for professional life for two years through the new scheme and have achieved their 100% recruitment target thanks to our work this year.
“I don’t think nationally apprenticeships were viewed in the same light as university so we have tried hard to spread the word of what it can offer,” Harry Wild, the scheme’s leader, told the Bridport News.
Chloe Ride, 23, was one of the finalists and now works as a commis chef with The Marriott hotel group as part of the apprenticeship.
“I spent four years struggling through an English Language degree, which I was reluctant to quit because I was so aware of how lucky I was to be on the course.
“But, moving out and fending for myself ended up having more of an impact on me than my actual degree.
“I knew I wanted to learn in a practical environment rather than academic, and the massive benefit for me on this scheme is that you get paid to learn.
“Although I still have to pay for the scheme it still, by far, is the cheapest option for me, and in my opinion it’s the best way to learn.”
Lomas, the organisation’s first winner, has now completed his apprenticeship at Park Farm where he cooked for royalty, political leaders and the thousands of paying customers that visit the restaurant each year.
As the face of the scheme he regularly appeared in the local and national press to champion the centre of learning.
Now he will carry his training into a new role in Cornwall, where he work alongside one of the 2013 finalists on a new venture between River Cottage and Skinners Brewery.