Carnoustie chef Ethan cooks up award success

An apprentice chef from Carnoustie has been highly commended as one of Scotland’s inspirational young people for his contribution to the local food and drink industry.
Ethan is pictured with Jeremy Parker, from NFU Mutual and Hayley Wilkes from WeeCOOK.Ethan is pictured with Jeremy Parker, from NFU Mutual and Hayley Wilkes from WeeCOOK.
Ethan is pictured with Jeremy Parker, from NFU Mutual and Hayley Wilkes from WeeCOOK.

Ethan O’Hare, 20, was recognised in this year’s NFU Mutual Inspirational Young Person Awards for his work with WeeCOOK restaurant and catering business.

The award, which is in its fourth year, was launched by the commercial insurer, in partnership with industry body Scotland Food and Drink, to find inspirational examples of talented 16 to 26-year-olds who own, work or study in the food and drink sector.

It highlights not only the enormous contribution that young people make to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, but also the importance of the sector to the wider economy.

Ethan has been with WeeCOOK since he was 16, joining as a kitchen porter after leaving school. He then embarked on his hospitality apprenticeship, which he successfully completed before taking on his current professional cookery apprenticeship.

Throughout this time Ethan has contributed to the success of the business by helping WeeCOOK gain national recognition for its food, pies and service.

He also stepped up to take on more responsibilities including managing the kitchen in the Head Chef’s absence.

Ethan’s colleagues say he is the unsung hero of the WeeCOOK team who has demonstrated incredible resilience, self-discipline and teamwork, making him a great ambassador for young people in the hospitality sector.

Having originally intended to select a top three, the judges found the quality applications so outstanding they decided to recognise first and second prizes, with two highly commended winners.

Ethan said: “I’m totally over the moon to be presented with this award – I would have never thought I would get it. The team at WeeCOOK have all worked so hard and I would like to thank them for helping me pursue this award and a special thanks for Hayley Wilkes for believing in me.”

Mark McBrearty, NFU Mutual regional manager, said: “Selecting a winner and two runners-up from the high quality of entries this year was too difficult, which is why we decided on an additional award.”

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