Chesterfield News

Apprentices set to be honoured at Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards

Three young people are set to battle it out to claim the Apprentice of the Year title at the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards next month.

Celebrity chef Lesley Waters will announce the winner of the prestigious title at a glittering awards ceremony being held at Chesterfield College on Wednesday 31 October.

Ben Forster from Ringwood Hall Hotel & Spa, Corey Elliott from The Lilypad Café & Restaurant and Courtney Slater from Katey’s Coffee Shop at Hollingwood Hub are all in the running for the award which is sponsored by Apprentice Town (Led by Chesterfield Borough Council).

The finalists will be recognised alongside more than 30 businesses from the town’s food and drink sector which have been shortlisted across 15 categories in the annual Food and Drink Awards, organised by Destination Chesterfield.

All shortlisted apprentices were nominated for the award by their employers.

Commenting on being shortlisted, Ben Forster (19), a Level 3 apprentice in Professional Cookery at Ringwood Hall Hotel & Spa, said: “Everyone at work is really happy for me. It’s really good to have been chosen to be one of the finalists and recognised at work for how I’m progressing. I love the buzz and energy of working here. It’s amazing. I could never do anything else.”

Ben, who has ambitions to own his open seafood restaurant or bakery decided to do a professional cookery apprenticeship after undertaking work experience at Ringwood Hall Hotel & Spa when he was at The Bolsover School.

Fellow Level 3 Professional Cookery apprentice, Corey Elliott (17) has been with The Lilypad Café & Restaurant since he was 15 years old and worked part time in the kitchen washing dishes. He is now a valued member of the food preparation team. Corey enjoys cooking in his own time, often cooks for his parents at home.

He commented: “I love the atmosphere at The Lilypad Café & Restaurant and get on with my team really well. Cooking is my passion, it’s what I like to do in my own time, so it’s nice to be recognised for the hard work I put in here.”

Courtney Slater (20) from Katey’s Coffee Shop has completed her Level 2 apprenticeship in Hospitality and Catering and is now a manager. She commented: “Every day is different when you work at Katey’s Coffee Shop; it doesn’t even feel like being at work. I love the team I work with and really enjoy my role here. I’m looking forward to the awards ceremony.”

Courtney, who loves watching The Great British Bake Off, has even developed new products for the shop and has ambitions to be a pastry chef at a top restaurant.

Ben, Courtney and Katey all hope to claim the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ title

Alongside Ben, Corey and Courtney, three businesses have also been shortlisted for the Apprentice Employer of the Year title, sponsored by Learning Unlimited (The Chesterfield College Group). The shortlisted businesses include:

  • The Rectory
  • Stephenson’s Tea & Coffee House
  • Van Dyk

Both the Apprentice of the Year and Apprentice Employer of the Year awards are new to the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards line up for 2018. The new awards are designed to recognise and commend the valuable contribution both apprentices and their employers make to Chesterfield’s food and drink scene.

Peter Swallow, Chair of Destination Chesterfield said: “Apprentices play a vital role in the town’s food and drink sector and we’re delighted to be able to recognise the young talent we have here in Chesterfield, as well as the employers that are supporting them through their apprenticeships.”

Other supporters of the awards include Banner Jones Solicitors, BHP Accountants, Casa Hotel, Chesterfield Borough Council, Derbyshire Times, Derbyshire Building Control Partnership, Elder Way by Jomast Developments, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire), FEAST (The Food and Drink Forum), Hoods Florist, Jumble Creative Design, Kier Group, MSE Hiller, Owen Taylor & Sons, Peak FM, Reflections, Shorts Chartered Accountants and Winster Foods.

For more information about the Food and Drink awards, please visit

Winners of the Chesterfield Food & Drink Awards 2017 celebrate

apprentice Chesterfield food drink awards

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