Personal Stories: Teenage chef serves up a fine dining experience
Michael Auld (17) is an award-winning chef from Carnmoney
The 17-year-old Barnardo's trainee recently won gold at the IFEX all-Ireland catering awards in the King's Hall and was overall winner in the Ability Section at the Hotelympia UK national catering competition held in London.
The talented teenager works at Dr B's Kitchen restaurant which trains young people with learning difficulties for a career in the hospitality industry.
Part of his prize for winning in London was to spend a week in the kitchens at Anton Mosimann's fine dining rooms in Belgravia, London - which he has just completed.
Michael said: "Cooking is my life and working at Mossiman's was amazing. I couldn't believe I was actually there.
"On the first day I was helping prepare the starters including salmon with fish eggs and herbs alongside the other chefs.
"It was fantastic to be working in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
"I learnt that it's better to keep calm in the kitchen and that you produce better food if it's not prepared under pressure.
"It also made we want to try baking and dessert- making which I haven't done before but now I would like to learn. It was all amazing and I learnt so much.
"I tried everything including octopus and beef tartare.
"Dr B's and Andrew have given me the best year of my life."
Michael is on work experience at Olio restaurant in Belfast and hopes to take up a placement at Mosimann's in a couple of years' time.