06 September 2018
- Events

Meet your ACE Ready Steady Cook Finalists - Restaurant Associates

Aaron Cootes and Sasha Nyabongo

Meet your ACE chef finalists: Aaron Cootes from Restaurant Associates



With just a few weeks to go until our next event, ACE Ready, Steady, Cook we’ve been catching up with some of our talented chef finalists to discover how they are feeling. First in the spotlight is Aaron Cootes who will be one half of the Restaurant Associates team. Last year, RA were the overall winners and Aaron is looking forward to seeing whether they can take the trophy again.



How does it feel to represent your company in ACE Ready, Steady, Cook?



Amazing! I love doing anything to showcase the amazing talent we have in our company, and show how far I have come as a chef with the help and support from my colleagues at RA.



What’s the best way to prepare for a chef competition?



Practice, practice and practice. You can start to build many ideas ready for the mystery basket and learn about your equipment inside out as well as being organised and having a detailed mise en place list.



Tell us a little more about your role within the company and what that involves.



I am currently the head chef in the brasserie restaurant at Deloitte, serving the best seasonal ingredients we can get, in a relaxed environment. We have a big focus on minimising waste and using every part of the meat or fish we get in. Our style is simple dishes where the emphasis is on ingredients being at their best and being cooked to perfection.



What do you think about the work ACE does to put the next generation into the spotlight?



The work ACE is doing in this area is really good. ACE gave me the confidence to re-enter the competition as I came second as a junior and I wanted the opportunity to give my own junior chef the same experience I had. Hopefully this will also inspire him to move forward with his career.



What would winning the competition mean to you?



Winning ACE Ready, Steady, Cook would mean so much. I’d love to come back and win it as a senior after coming second the last time I entered. To have my junior win with me would push him forward even more.



Meet your ACE chef finalists: Sasha Nyabongo, Restaurant Associates



One thing we love about ACE Ready, Steady, Cook these days is the way we give young chefs the opportunity to have a go at competing, in many cases for the first time. We are also proud to put talented young chefs in the spotlight by awarding a prize to a talented chef who has really impressed our judges. As final preparations take place we caught up with the next generation competitor from Restaurant Associates, Sasha Nyabongo.



How does it feel to represent your company in ACE Ready, Steady, Cook?



It feels awesome as I haven’t really done anything this grand before other than the WorldSkills competition. Representing Restaurant Associates is an absolute honour.



What’s the best way to prepare for a chef competition?



Practicing and preparing yourself for the challenge that awaits is key and making sure that you have as many ideas as possible for the mystery basket big reveal.



Tell us a little more about your role within the company and what that involves.



At the moment, I am working as a chef de partie in the hospitality sector of Deloitte. I am currently on the canape and finger food section where I prepare and present bite-sized dishes to clients and make sure they have the best food experience, so they want to come back again.



What do you think about the work ACE does to put the next generation into the spotlight?



It’s brilliant! ACE helps young chefs by offering us this experience and giving us increased confidence in our craft. It is fantastic that see that junior chefs are getting support to showcase their current skills as well as what they have to offer in their future careers.



What would winning the competition mean to you?



I am honestly a very competitive person so winning would mean so much in terms of my confidence and showcasing my skills to industry professionals.

Blog written by
Nicola Proud

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