SERC catering apprentice Rachel Carson is celebrating after she was named Outstanding Apprentice of the year at the 23rd Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism which took place at a glittering event held at Titanic Belfast on 11 May.
Rachel has already proved herself as a rising star in the industry having been named Student Culinarian of the Year at IFEX, earlier in the year. Rachel started her career at Ballyrobin Country Lodge but is now employed by Novelli's at City Quay, which is owned by multi-Michelin-starred and 5-out-of-5 AA Rosette-winning celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
Rachel was nominated for the award by her tutor Ruth Doherty.
Rachel expressed her thanks through twitter by saying “a big thank you to everyone who has inspired and pushed me, thank you all so much.”
Part time lecturer Friedrich Machala who is employed by Sodexo was also celebrating when the awards were announced as he was named Contract Catering Chef of Year.
The Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism is the largest event within Northern Ireland that recognise talented individuals who have made a valuable contribution to their business and the industry over the past year. The charity partner for this year’s awards was Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI.
This year saw a record number of entries with the independent judges citing this year as being extremely competitive with a very high standard of professionalism demonstrated by candidates.
SERC was represented by both students and lecturers at the awards.
21-year-old Francesca Ringrow from Bangor and 20-year-old Jordan Given from Dundonald from the Ulster University foundation degree in tourism, hospitality and events were also celebrating being finalists in the student with best management potential award category.
The students were nominated for the awards by their tutors which were based on a range of criteria that targets the students' commitment to professional and personal development, and academic endeavour.
SERC lecturer Michelle McCarthy from the School of Hospitality, Management, Tourism and Languages was a finalist in the Lecturer of the Year award.
James Currie head of school for hospitality, management, tourism and languages said “I am extremely proud of all the students and lecturers. They have put a great deal of effort into learning and perfecting their skills. Events like this are a fantastic opportunity for students to demonstrate their skills to leading figures in the industry. Each year we’re impressed with the professionalism demonstrated by the students and are extremely proud of their achievements.”