Warrington Collegiate chef Russell Wood has double cause for celebration after winning two prestigious awards in a matter of weeks, as well as being offered jobs at two of London’s top hotels.
After picking up the Worshipful Company of Cooks Cherry Grainger Prize at a glittering ceremony in London this month, Russ has also been named the winner of a City & Guilds Medal of Excellence award.
The former St Gregory’s High School pupil will collect his second award at The Roof Gardens in London this June, where he is also in the running for a highly-coveted City & Guilds Lion Award.
Collecting the Cherry Grainger Prize also gave Russ the opportunity to meet a number of established chefs, including John Williams, the head chef at the Ritz, and Henry Lomas, head chef at the Grove.
“The whole thing has been such a surreal experience,” said Russ, who is in the final year of his professional cookery course at the college.
“Both John and Henry offered me jobs. It was incredible – I got two job offers in 10 minutes.”
The ceremony took place at the Innholders Hall in London.
Russ, who has been taught everything he knows by the college’s chef lecturer Scott Surtees, added: “When I got home from the awards, I just couldn’t stop smiling. I met so many amazing and talented chefs while I was there – it was a fantastic opportunity for me.
“I spoke to people about sponsorship for competitions, I met Masterchef winner Gary MacLean, the Lord Mayor of London, and I was even given a tour of the kitchens – it was just phenomenal.”
18 year old Russ was nominated for the awards by his tutors in recognition of his hard work throughout his time at the college.
Andy Macleod, curriculum leader for hospitality & catering, said: “Russell has produced consistently outstanding work throughout his time at the college. He is always willing to go above and beyond what is required and spends so much of his free time helping in the kitchen.
“He thoroughly deserves to win these awards. He is an extremely talented young chef and I know he will go on to great things when he leaves college.”