Talented local chef awarded national scholarship

An Aberdeenshire chef has been awarded one of only three Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland Craft scholarships for 2020, providing a coveted opportunity to master traditional kitchen skills in an effort to address the skills gap in the industry.

Ashleigh Foster, pastry chef at Maryculter House was chosen to receive the Craft Scholarship by Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland from nationwide applications. The scholarship will allow her to work alongside industry professionals to build her skillset and share her knowledge with other industry professionals.

The three lucky scholars will also receive some added value from HIT Scotland Scotland’s leading foodservice wholesaler, Brakes, giving them the chance to learn from one of their food suppliers or spend time with their development chefs who will give an insight into how they create new dishes.

HIT Scotland is a unique charity for the hospitality industry in Scotland, encouraging the development of people working on studying in the sector. The charity offers opportunities to broaden skills and personal growth through their various scholarship programmes.

Ashleigh Foster, pastry chef at Maryculter House said: “I am thrilled to have been awarded a Craft Scholarship with HIT Scotland. My experience so far has very much specialised in pastry - so to be able to develop other key skills is a major ambition of mine. In particular, I am keen to learn more about traditional skills in order to stay ahead of the competition, as it’s something that is lacking in the industry at the moment. It would also be interesting to pick up some pointers and understand how other chefs operate in their own kitchen environments.

“I also hope to be able to use my experience with HIT to encourage the next generation of chefs, I want to show them that progression in the industry is possible if you grasp opportunities when they offer themselves.”

Peter Walker, managing director of Maryculter House said: “As a team, we are delighted for Ashleigh and will continue to support her as she uses this experience to advance her skills and develop her professional network.

“At Maryculter House, we are passionate about providing excellent customer service and staying true to our traditional hospitality roots, therefore we are keen for Ashleigh to hone the traditional skills which, in turn, will only elevate her confidence and the way we operate in the kitchen.

“I feel passionate about developing the young hospitality workforce, it’s important they are given the chance to benefit from industry scholarships and teaching.”

Peter Walker with Ashleigh Foster

Peter Walker with Ashleigh Foster