16 days ago
Istvan ‘Steve’ Jonas, 29, was thrilled to be named as Sodexo’s apprentice chef of the year at last week’s Salon Culinaire.
Steve, who works at Sodexo’s contract at Santander on St Vincent Street, won the live cooking competition and said he was ‘feeling great’ after the event. “I still feel like I’m dreaming thinking how far I got, and am looking forward to the next challenges.”
Steve lives in the King’s Park area of Glasgow after moving to the city from his native Hungary 12 years ago to be near sister. He started his Sodexo career as a kitchen porter at Santander, but was promoted to a breakfast chef after a year. Head chef Scott Aitken recognised his passion for food last year, and enrolled him on an NVQ professional cookery course.
Head chef Scott said: “Steve was getting really passionate about food and asking lots of questions, so we helped him get on an apprentice course and I started teaching him skills in our spare time after work.”
The pair spent three weeks leading up to the competition staying late after work and coming in at weekends to practice the dishes for what would be his first live cooking competition.
“I’m really grateful to Scott who has supported me and given excellent advice and guidance,” says Steve. “He has been instrumental in my development as a chef and in getting me involved in the competition. I was shaking with nerves during the cook off but I enjoyed the experience and it felt amazing to win the title.”
Steve brought his own take on Chicken Balmoral, stuffing a boned chicken leg with pork and leek sausage. He also prepared a beetroot cannelloni with Hungarian tomato tart inspired by his country of origin.
He is one of a 10-strong catering team at Santander, serving between 400 and 500 meals a day in the restaurant.
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