World is chef Jonny’s oyster after apprentice accolade

Jonny Streets a chef at Burt's Hotel, Melrose, named as Scotland's Adult  Apprentice of the Year.
Jonny Streets a chef at Burt's Hotel, Melrose, named as Scotland's Adult Apprentice of the Year.

BORDERS chef Jonny Streets was named Scotland’s Adult Apprentice of the Year at Glasgow Science Centre last Wednesday, writes Sandy Neil.

“It was a total shock,” he told TheSouthern, adding: “I wasn’t expecting it at all. The amount of people who came afterwards to say ‘well done’ – it made the experience reward enough.”

Sarah Dalrymple, of Bowden, a hospitality consultant and SVQ assessor who entered Jonny in the competition run by Skills Development Scotland, paid tribute to the 27-year-old chef from Melrose: “I’m just so proud. He’s got something special.

“It doesn’t get better than this at his stage of life. Doors are going to open now: the world’s his oyster. It’s a real rags-to-riches story. He had a harsh start, stepping off the street looking for a job, and now look at him.”

Jobless and with no qualifications, Jonny responded to an advert in TheSouthern looking for a dishwasher at Selkirk’s County Hotel, where co-owners Trond Dalby and Will Haegeland trained him as an apprentice cook.

“We’re very happy and proud of him,” Trond said, adding: “He did all his apprenticeship with us, and the award will help him improve his career prospects. He’s demonstrated from what he has achieved so far that he can go wherever he wants.”

Jonny, now chef de partie at Burts Hotel in Melrose, thanked Will and Trond for giving him his first chance: “I didn’t have a job and saw their advert for a dishwasher.

“They let me cook, and the better I cooked, the more they trusted me.”

Last year, Jonny also won the Scottish Borders Junior Chef Challenge.