A 17-year-old chef from York who appeared on Channel 4’s Kitchen Impossible with Michel Roux Jr has joined the kitchen team at the city’s Grand Hotel & Spa.
At the end of the four episode series, which featured world renowned and Michelin starred Chef Michel Roux Jr putting eight young people with disabilities through an intensive four week introduction to catering, Sam successfully secured a position at the five-star hotel which is home to the 2 AA rosette rated restaurant, Hudson’s.
During the series Sam overcame his Tourette’s to demonstrate his phenomenal passion for cooking and the skills he developed whilst studying for his Level 3 NVQ in Patisserie at York College. Often put in a position of responsibility by Michel Roux Jr, Sam successfully combatted his struggle to manage his condition, something that may have previously discourage potential employers – one previous employer reportedly fired Sam under the impression that his Tourette’s wasn’t real.
Sam has long had an interest in cooking and, when not in the kitchen blogs about food. Unlike many young people of his age, the item that was top of his wish list for his last birthday was a frying pan set!
On joining the Grand’s kitchen brigade, Sam said: “This is really a dream come true and something I never thought would happen. First being helped by Michel Roux Jr, who is a hero of mine, and now working at The Grand, is more than I could ever imagined. The people here have been great; my Tourette’s doesn’t worry them - I am just another member of the team.”
The Grand’s Head Chef, Craig Atchinson, paid tribute to his latest recruit: “Sam has demonstrated to everyone that you have to look beyond someone’s disability and see the person beyond. He is a fantastic asset in our team here at The Grand and has earnt his place on merit. He has fast become a popular member of staff and helps to produce stunning dishes enjoyed by diners in Hudson’s”.
Working with Michel Roux Jr, all eight trainees worked hard to develop new skills and challenge their own and other people’s misconceptions about their ability to work in the fast-paced, high pressure environment of catering and hospitality. It is still sadly common that many people with disabilities are overlooked for positions that they are more than capable of carrying out to a high standard.