Apprentice chef Thomas Martin is a young man with a passion for cooking who has already sampled work in some of London’s top fine dining restaurants.
At the age of 22, he is following a career path that he hopes will lead him to achieving his ambition of opening his own restaurant in Cardiff to champion the very best Welsh ingredients.
Having achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery with training provider Cambrian Training Company, he plans to progress to an Apprenticeship next year.
Earlier this year, he was rewarded for his passion and dedication to learning when he was named Foundation Apprentice of the Year in Cambrian Training Company’s annual awards and was a runner up in the Junior Chef of Wales contest.
Now he has been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. He will be competing to become Foundation Apprentice of the Year at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on November 9.
The annual awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship Programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are supported by media partner, Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Thirty star employers, learners and learning providers from across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
Currently working as chef de partie at Holm House Hotel, Penarth, he has worked at Manor Parc Country Hotel and Restaurant, Cardiff, Chapel 1887, Cardiff as well at the Principality Stadium as a member of the catering team for the Champions League final last year.
His work experience in London included spells at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Michel Roux Junior’s Le Gavroche, Marcus Wareing at the Berkley, Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant Outlaw’s at the Capital and World’s End Market, Chelsea.
“It was a great experience and who wouldn’t take the opportunity to work in three Michelin starred restaurants at the age of 20 or 21,” he said. “The experience altered what I wanted out of my career and it made the path I needed to go down a lot clearer.
“My ambition is to have my own restaurant in Cardiff championing Welsh ingredients. I want to fly the flag for Wales.”
Thomas, who originally set out to be a carpenter when he left school before discovering a passion for cooking, credits his Apprenticeship with giving him the confidence to work in London.
Congratulating Thomas on being shortlisted for an award, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said:
“Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcase the success of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeships and Traineeships Programmes and the achievements of our star apprentices, employers, learning providers and trainees.
“Apprenticeships are a great way for individuals to gain valuable skills and experience while earning a wage and for employers to ensure their workforce has the skills to future proof a business.
“Increasing higher level skills and developing skills pathways that benefit the whole of Wales have never been more important.”