Round 3 – The semi final Skills workshop NFFF training academy
The next round was the one I was looking forward the most, the semi-final skills day at the NFFF training academy in Leeds. This was the round where I could show off my skills from preparation of fish, batter and potatoes, frying as well as giving a short presentation about my life in the industry and how I came into working with fish & chips and how I came to love my career.
The main thing I needed to prepare for was the presentation, I’ve had a good ability to be able to deliver presentations based on notes but I wanted to do something that both showed my pride for working at Mister C’s as well as my passion for the industry and show that the industry has more to offer than people typically think. To do this I created a simple but effective presentation using the shop colours and logos and used some old pictures of when I originally started to some newer ones showing my progression throughout my career. Each slide had a title and bullet points which I would explain I started by explaining how I came to work at Mister C’s and went on to show my achievements, why I love working there and what I plan to do in the future. Once I finished the power point, I needed to practice. I asked to show it to Danny and Amy to see what they though. I gave the whole presentation with them and they gave me some tips and advice on how to improve it. I took it on board and felt confident.
When I arrived, I felt very confident I had prepared as much as possible, I brought my own tools, flour, packaging and even some lemons to add for a little extra to add on my finished product. I made sure I had clean, well presented frying jacket, clean shoes and apron as well as hat and hair net so that my presentation would be good. I felt nervous at first but everyone there made it less frightening, I got to speak with the other friers who had come from all over and get to know them as well as the judges. Going in to each station the judges asked questions while I performed my preparation and my frying but also afterwards they were highly approachable obviously they wouldn’t tell you if you’d done well or not but gave advice and methods that could help back in the shop as well as swap stories of their personal experiences. For me the two-main people I wanted to talk to were George Papadamou who won the DYFFY in 2017 and Craig Buckley who was the first person to win the award in his first year entering, an achievement I wanted to obtain and went on to complete. I also gained much from the other judges Andrew Crook, President of the NFFF, Michael Pilliar of Seafish as well as Kelvin lee and Nicky Lewis of Drywite.
I felt I had given the best I could I was happy with what I achieved, and I couldn’t wait for the results to come in. I was up early the day I was told and when Nicky Rung me to tell me I was in the top 5 and going on to the final I was completely shocked. I had no idea I would get so far in my first year and decided that now I had to win and give even more to go for it.