Sodexo rising star teams up with Bake Off winner to mentor UHI students

Sodexo rising star teams up with Bake Off winner to mentor UHI students

A talented Edinburgh based chef, recognised as a rising star in the industry, has been sharing her knowledge with hospitality students at Perth College UHI as part of a special skills week.


Tue, 26 Jun 2018



Nikola Plhakova, a Junior Sous Chef with Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, joined forces with Bake Off’s ‘Crème de la Crème’ winner and patisserie expert, Helen Vass, to deliver a range of workshops to 60 Food Studies & Hospitality students.

The initiative, which has been supported by Sodexo for the past two years, aims to take student learning to a new level and refine their skills in crafts including, chocolate work and cocktail making. The week-long training this year culminated in a Celebration of Skills Dinner, with VIPs including Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney.

The ‘Spring Time Awakening’ menu which Nikola helped design encouraged the students to use seasonal produce and opened up their skills base to cook with less well-known ingredients, such as lamb sweetbreads. While Nikola focused on the savoury dishes, Helen helped the students hone their chocolate truffle making.

Nikola was recently named ‘Scottish Sodexo Chef of the Year’, after competing against nine other top Sodexo chefs in a 90 minute live cook off at ExCeL London. She was tasked to prepare a three-course meal including a vegetarian starter, hake main course and a citrus dessert. The young chef has only been with the company for a year, having previously worked in a number of prestigious hotels in Scotland and Dubai.  

Commenting on the Perth College UHI event, David Ward, Executive Chef at Sodexo said: “It has been a great opportunity for Nikola to be able to take a step back and help students entering the world of hospitality, offering them tips and insights from her very own experiences. We often find these initiatives can be just as rewarding for our staff in their own development, as it is for the students as they embrace new challenges.”


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