Prize Giving 2018: Competitive edge helps Sophie win award

A Hospitality and Catering student has shown she definitely has the competitive edge after picking up an award at Edinburgh College’s annual Prize Giving Ceremony, just days after participating in two national competitions.

Sophie Taylor, who has just completed the City and Guilds Level 2 Hospitality and Catering, has been awarded the Academic Excellence Award for Professional Cookery, collected her award on Friday 8 June.

Sophie said: “I can’t believe I’ve been chosen for this award. I’m really proud that my achievements and hard work has been noticed by my lecturers.”

It’s been a busy few weeks for 19-year-old Sophie as she has spent time competing with the best of Scotland’s Hospitality and Catering students at two national events.

Earlier this week Sophie and fellow student Shannon McNeil took part in a WorldSkills heat held in Glasgow. Both students gave a fantastic account of themselves, testing their kitchen and front-of-house skills.

Last week, Sophie teamed up with three of her classmates to represent Edinburgh College at the Brakes Hospitality Challenge. The team competed against three other colleges, coming in third place. Sophie’s role was to create a stylish and traditional table plan, a gin and orange cocktail as an aperitif and pair wines with the food her colleagues were preparing in the kitchen.

“Competing at WorldSkills and in the Brakes competition really opened my eyes to another side of hospitality”, said Sophie. “It showed me how much more restaurants can offer to a customer and how a dining experience can be tailored around the customer.”

Edinburgh-born Sophie chose to come to her local college after meeting with the EH15 Restaurant team and realising this was the place for her. She hasn’t looked back since.

She said: “It was the right course style that I was looking for and the staff seamed really helpful and friendly. Since then there has been so much hands-on experience. I’ve really loved getting more in-depth with front of house service – learning things including gueridon and flambé.”

“I’ve learned other important things while I’ve been at the college, including how to be more confident and to stress less – I used to second guess myself lots but throughout my time at EH15 my confidence has grown and my self-doubt has gone.”

Food service lecturer Stephanie Tanner said: “Sophie has been a dedicated student in the two years she has been with us. The progress she has made in that time has been amazing and we are all very proud of her. Her attitude towards learning new skills and improving across all areas of the service industry is exceptional. We’ve been on two trips to different competitions in the last week and Sophie has performed brilliantly at them both – she definitely has a bright future ahead of her and is looking forward to heading off to Gleneagles this summer for work experience”.

Looking ahead, Sophie is returning to college to complete her level 3 and intends to follow that up with an HNC. Beyond that she hopes to either work as pastry chef or in a front of house managerial role.

Sophie described her Edinburgh College experience in three words: “Loved every moment”.