AN ASPIRING cook from Cumbernauld College has proved all her doubters wrong by taking the Young Chef of the Year award.
Deborah Kirk (21), from Stenhousemuir, won the prestigious award at the Skills for Chefs conference ceremony in July, and the victory comes as a welcome reward after studying cookery at Cumbernauld College for two years.
The one-time McDonald’s employee has now landed a job at the five star Turnberry Hotel in Aryshire and has also spent time working in a Michelin star restaurant in Lyon, France.
“I never thought for a minute I’d win,” said Deborah, who has now moved to Ayrshire for her work.
“I was thinking I was just happy to be there as the only person from Scotland, but when I won it I just thought, Oh my God!”
The competition focused on key skills and all the finalists produced a classical chicken saute dish of their choice that had to be listed in Repertoire de la Cuisine.
Professional chefs including Andrew Bennet and Nigel Hawthorn judged the competition and picked out Deborah as the winner.
Despite always having a passion for cooking it wasn’t until going to college that things really took off for Deborah.
“When I was in school I was actually discouraged from doing home economics,” she laughed.
“I loved it but the school wanted me to do history instead because they said I wasn’t any good.
“It’s kind of funny now I guess. It just shows you.
“The competition was stressful at times because I was up against some of the best in Great Britain, people who have represented the country in other competitions, so it was intense, but I just cooked to the best of my ability and I’m delighted to have won.
“I love cooking.”