The Chef’s Protégé

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Our students impressed the country on national television in The Chef's Protégé, a 20-part series showing top chefs returning to their colleges to find someone to mentor.

At the end of the series, our very own Jamie MacKinnon beat off competition from two other colleges in the UK to gain the incredible prize of being mentored by Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kitchin, himself a former Perth College UHI student.

Speaking after the programme ended, Jamie said, "This has been one of the best experiences of my life. First of all, learning so much from a fantastic chef like Tom Kitchin, then seeing how he runs his restaurant, and finally, cooking for world-famous chefs like Pierre Koffmann, Ruth Rogers and Albert Roux. It’s been like a dream come true. But I knew that if I listened to Tom and did my best I would have a chance of winning.

“The most important thing that I’ve learn from Tom is to respect what goes into the dishes. His style of combining the best of Scottish ingredients and classic French cookery techniques is something I’d really like to master myself.

“I’m really grateful to everyone at the College for giving me this opportunity and for setting me up with the skills I needed, but now that the competition is over, I’m going to take up Tom’s offer of working in his own kitchen.”

Tom Kitchin said he had “unbelievable” pride in Jamie, himself and Scotland after the winner was announced.

“I think Jamie is really interesting because he has really taken on the philosophy, the belief, the passion. He’s just submerged himself into my philosophy.”

Ian Gibb, Perth College UHI Hospitality Subject Leader, commented, “This is a fantastic result for Jamie, for Tom and for Perth College UHI as well.

“All of our students managed the pressure really well and I’m extremely proud of them. But for Jamie in particular, managing to do his best in front of some of the world’s most famous chefs was an incredible test of character, and I think he really showed what he’s made of in the final.

“To be the youngest competitor at only 17 and to do so well tells me that Jamie has a great future in the industry.”

“Thanks to Tom Kitchin’s consistent, supportive approach and constructive feedback, all of our students learned and matured as chefs. The memories of the Chef’s Protégé will stay with them for life, and hopefully some will follow in our former student Tom's very successful footsteps.”

Find out more from the BBC's site here.