Sodexo ‘rising star’ partners with Bake Off winner to mentor UHI students

A ‘rising star’ chef and the winner of Bake Off’s ‘Crème de la Crème’ have joined forces to train and mentor 60 food studies and hospitality students at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Edinburgh-based chef Nikola Plhakova, who is also a junior sous chef with Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, and winner of Bake Off, Helen Vass, who is a patisserie expert, will hold a series of workshops at Perth College UHI as part of a special skills week.

The workshops, supported by Sodexo for the past two years, are designed to refine the students’ skills in crafts such as chocolate work and cocktail making. Plhakova, who was recently named ‘Scottish Sodexo Chef of the Year’, helped create the ‘Spring Time Awakening’ menu, encouraging students to use less well-known ingredients while Vass helped students hone their chocolate truffle making.

David Ward, executive chef at Sodexo, said: “It has been a great opportunity for Nikola to be able to take a step back and help students entering the world of hospitality, offering them tips and insights from her very own experiences. We often find these initiatives can be just as rewarding for our staff in their own development, as it is for the students as they embrace new challenges.”

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