Hayley Bruce was the winner of the Aberdeen-Angus Scotch Beef Award through our cookery competition that we held in conjunction with QMS as part of our World Angus Forum. The competition aimed to give young chefs from around the country the chance to test their skills in front of some of the most renowned names in the cooking world here in Scotland. A part of a trio of talented young chefs who reached the final, Hayley was eventually announced as the winner and was presented with the amazing opportunity to work in a restaurant in Sydney from the portfolio of Michelin Star chef Tristin Farmer. Hayley has recently returned from Sydney after her two-week placement, and we got the chance to catch up with her!
What was your initial reaction to winning?
‘’The competition was a great experience and when I reached the final three I was delighted. To then win the competition was even more amazing, I couldn’t stop smiling for days afterwards!’’
What restaurant did you work at?
‘’The restaurant I worked in Sydney was the Kensington Street Social by Michelin starred chef, Jason Atherton. The restaurant itself works to a very versatile menu, with lots of magnificent versatile dishes from sharers to full three-coursers! The atmosphere of the restaurant was relaxed and stylish, which was something I loved having the chance to work in.’’
What was your favourite thing about the experience?
‘’My favourite thing about the experience was working in the open kitchen of Kensington Street Social with 6 chefs. Interacting with both the chefs and customers during service was something I really enjoyed. I learnt how to shuck oysters for appetisers and how to prepare and cook King Fish, which is a native fish of Australia. Aside from the cooking, it was obviously great to get to spend time in such a wonderful city too! There was so much to see and do in my short time there that it was impossible to get round it all, so I’d love to go back some day.’’
What were the main learnings you took from the experience?
‘’I think this whole experience will be beneficial to my future because it shows I’m not afraid to travel and experience new cultures. My plans are to complete my training and to become a Head Chef in the years to come, and this experience has given me a great platform to push off from. This trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I cannot thank QMS and Aberdeen-Angus enough for my wonderful experience for which I’m extremely grateful!’’
Having returned from her placement, Hayley will continue to work with McBain’s catering with a view to completing her training and becoming fully qualified. We’d like to thank Hayley for taking the time to talk to us about her amazing experience in Australia and wish her all the best in her future aspirations. We’re certain you’ll go on to achieve some great things!