Spotlight on Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate, Ruth Hansom

The Staff Canteen

Former Springboard FutureChef winner and Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards graduate, Ruth Hansom, always knew she wanted to be a chef.

She was just 15 years old when she came to London and competed in the FutureChef final at Westminster Kingsway College. It was this experience which gave her the drive and determination to be a successful chef.

Ruth hansom low resHaving seen the Westminster Kingsway College facilities, Ruth knew where she wanted to study and is currently in the third year of her apprenticeship as well as working at The Ritz four days a week. Giving diners a memorable experience with food she’s helped to cook is what she loves most about being a chef.

>>>Download the entry form now

After becoming a Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate in 2014 and being regarded as ‘one to watch’ in the industry we wanted to get to know Ruth Hansom a little better.

Why did you enter the Graduate Awards?

After competing in FutureChef I got a love for competitions and I try to enter as many as I can. I believe they provide an opportunity to really test your skills and grow as a chef and I knew that the Graduate Awards would open many doors for me. After reading about the examination on Facebook and Twitter it sounded like something that was right up my street. The prestige that comes with getting an award like this was really appealing and so I was delighted to pass on my first attempt.

Three insights into Ruth Hansom:

What’s your favourite dish to cook?               Lamb Bellequoe which is lamb saddle stuffed with chicken mousse and fois gras.

Where would you most like to eat out if you could go anywhere in the world?          

It would be Per Se in New York.

Who is your biggest culinary inspiration?

That’s a difficult one but I’d have to say someone like Thomas Keller.

How did you find the examination?

Some elements were difficult like the mystery basket as you couldn’t be 100% sure what you were going to get until the day. However other areas of the exam were things I’d done lots of and so for me it was more about honing the skills I had already learnt. Butchery and fishmongery tasks were definitely my favourite part of the test.

Who was your mentor and what support did they give you?

John Williams, head chef at The Ritz was my mentor and his advice and support made a real difference. When we received the lists he worked through everything with me and showed me his old cookery books which had lots of classic dishes in. Between us, we’d put in many hours of work in the build up to the final exam so it was such a relief to find out the hard work had paid off.

Tell us about some of your career highlights since the exam

As part of being a Graduate I was given the opportunity to enter the heats of the Young National Chef of the Year competition last summer. My name was called out as the winner of the London heat which meant I went through to the final where I finished in third place.  I have also got through to Squad UK in World Skills which I am extremely excited about.ruth hansom dish I know only 48 people have passed the exam over the last 14 years and I feel very honoured to be part of it as not everyone has this opportunity.

What’s been the proudest moment in your career so far?

I think for me it would probably be getting my job at The Ritz as it’s such an amazing place and I feel very fortunate to gain experience and work with the team at such a prestigious venue.

Why do you think the industry needs events like the Graduate Awards?

With the chef shortage and lack of skills we hear so much about it’s definitely a good thing to have to try and increase young chef’s skills. The Graduate Awards is about improving and testing out basic culinary skills and so I would encourage every young chef to enter. You never know what’s going to come up in the exam. For example, we had rabbit on ours which isn’t something I would normally prepare as part of my day job but this exam forced me to try something different.

>>> Read more about the awards and find out more about past graduates here

My advice to anyone would be practice, practice, practice. Try and create different scenarios for what the mystery element could be and think what you would do if certain ingredients were available to you on the day. ruth hansom dish 2

This year the Guild is launching a Pastry Graduate Award, what do you think to this news?

I think the introduction of the Pastry Graduate Award will be a fantastic addition as there aren’t as many competitions or exams for younger pastry chefs. There seems to be much more for masters but very little that tests your skills in the early stages of your career so it will definitely be good to highlight the pastry chefs coming through the industry.

***The closing date for entries is May 6 2016. Join in the conversation about the Graduate Awards by tweeting @Craft_Guild and using the hashtag #CGCGradAwards.

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Editor 25th February 2016

Spotlight on Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate, Ruth Hansom