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Teen who gave up A levels to become chef impresses on national stage

Hartwell House apprentice chef Charlie Aggett, left, who won a silver medal in the Hotel Olympia cookery competition. He is shown with two other winners.

Hartwell House apprentice chef Charlie Aggett, left, who won a silver medal in the Hotel Olympia cookery competition. He is shown with two other winners.

A teenager who gave up his A levels in order to concentrate on becoming a chef has impressed judges in a national cooking competition.

Hartwell House apprentice chef Charlie Aggett spends one day a week studying at Westminster Kingsway College, and the rest of his time being trained by Hartwell’s head chef Daniel Richardson.

The former Sir Henry Floyd grammar school pupil was entered into the Hotel Olympia competition which alternates each year between Birmingham and London. This year it was held at London Excel and Charlie came runner-up.

Charlie, 18, who lives in Stoke Mandeville with his parents, created a bouillabaisse.

He said: “It’s a Provencal fish stew that I turned into a cold terrine. The skill of the competition is to stop it getting smelly as it stands out all day for judging. It was gelled and covered in aspic to prevent exposure to the air.”

Charlie’s interest in cookery began at home and continued at school when he studied food technology. He entered several competitions and met Mr Richardson who was a judge at them.

Charlie said: “I spoke to him about volunteering at Hartwell and I started working there every Saturday. He is a great support to me, he does a lot for the community and works really well with young people.”

After three months of voluntary work Charlie was offered a formal apprenticeship at Hartwell a year ago and he is now in the second year of his three year college course.

He gave up his A level course to concentrate on becoming a chef and says he hopes one day to gain recognition as a chef.

 

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