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Andrew Fairlie Scholarship 2019

Meet the Judges - David Cochrane

To celebrate the launch of the inaugural Andrew Fairlie Scholarship, get to know the judges that make up the expert judging panel.

David Cochrane

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David Cochrane, Chief Executive of HIT Scotland, believes that the Andrew Fairlie scholarship is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for chefs with a drive to thrive in the culinary industry.

Find out what qualities David says the judges will be looking for in scholarship applicants and what challenges the scholars can expect to face in the ever-changing hospitality sector.

Could you tell us a bit about your career background?

“I started off working at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. From there, I had various roles in contract catering, training organisations, The Gleneagles Hotel, Springboard Scotland and then HIT Scotland. I was fortunate to work with some great people who inspired and helped me get to the next level through development and hard work.”

What is your favourite thing about working in hospitality?

“It’s all about the people. We have some fantastic people throughout the industry at different stages in their career. Helping people to develop through the HIT Scholarship programme gives me the greatest satisfaction.”

What are the biggest challenges facing aspiring chefs or new entrants in hospitality today?

“The industry is ever-changing, and customer demands are forever increasing. New entrants to the industry today will be carrying out roles and specialisms that didn’t even exist a few years ago. The technology of kitchen equipment, for example, plus the attitude towards food from customers has changed immensely.

“New entrants must look at the development an organisation will provide for them to keep them moving forward. Managing expectations of an enthusiastic new member of the team is also important.”

What impact do you think the Andrew Fairlie Scholarship will have on Scotland’s hospitality sector?

“I believe the Andrew Fairlie Scholarship will provide a platform for the two successful annual scholars to really build up their confidence and skills at an accelerated level. This in turn will encourage and influence future scholars to the programme.

“The whole process will demonstrate the industry's belief in personal development and ideally continue to raise standards across the board and tangibly show that the industry is a career of choice.”

What three qualities are you looking for in an Andrew Fairlie scholar?

“Integrity, quality and personality.”

Do you have any advice for applicants to the Andrew Fairlie Scholarship?

“Research all you can about the philosophy of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie. Think about being innovative and creative with your menu choices as the competition will be strong. Crucially, ensure that your application stands out from the crowd.”

The Andrew Fairlie Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for aspiring chefs – do you think you have what it takes?

You can find more details and apply for the scholarship here.