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Le Cordon Bleu Scholarship Award 2016: the winner

Le Cordon Bleu Scholarship Award 2016: the winner

by Great British Chefs 28 July 2016

As winner Keiron Murphy gets ready to start his course in London, we caught up with him to learn more about his background and what he's looking forward to the most at Le Cordon Bleu.

It wasn’t until 2010, when Keiron Murphy signed up for a part-time cake decorating course, that he fell in love with pâtisserie. As an arts graduate working in a monotonous retail job, Keiron wanted to bring some creativity back into his life. Instantly, he was hooked, and knew that this was what he wanted to do full-time.

‘I found out on the first day about a cake shop owner in Skipton, North Yorkshire who was looking for a new trainee so I applied,’ says Keiron. ‘I was hired a few weeks later, quit my job and began this new journey. It was a three-hour round trip but I couldn't wait to start.

‘Three years into the four year course I was asked if I wanted to become a part-time cake decorating tutor which came as a huge shock,’ he continues. ‘But I was incredibly honoured that the college felt I had the skills to teach, even before completing the course myself! Last year I set up my own small business from home – Keiron George Cake Design – specialising in luxury wedding and celebration cakes and I've spent the last eighteen months trying to make this a success.’

On the right track

Keiron was well on his way to becoming a well-known cake decorator. But he knew that the cake itself was just as important as how it looked – and being a self-taught baker could only get him so far. That’s why he decided to apply for the Le Cordon Bleu Scholarship. ‘I wanted so much to train at Le Cordon Bleu that I enquired about any career opportunities they might have had, possibly in teaching or assisting with their cake decoration courses and, in return, be able to study the coveted Diplôme de Pâtisseire,’ he says. ‘Whilst this wasn't a possibility I was informed about the scholarship and thought I had as much chance as anyone else, so I applied.’

Cake decorating
Keiron's cake decorating skills are already very good, but he wants to learn from the masters how to bake and make pâtisserie too
Keiron Murphy
He was presented with the winning trophy by Clare Smyth MBE, a three-starred chef which Keiron will get the chance to work under after his course is completed

The first round of applications required a minute-long video – something Keiron was nervous about doing. ‘I'm not one for filming myself or taking selfies, so the thought of talking in front of a camera, trying to fight for something I wanted so much in just sixty seconds terrified me,’ he says. ‘I obviously wanted to stand out, so over the course of a week I filmed the city of Leeds, showing what I love about it, the architecture, the people, the places I like to eat, and paired that with images of my work and footage of myself decorating cakes.’

When he got to the final, however, Keiron was thoroughly enjoying the competition. ‘Seeing the school and meeting the staff was fantastic, and although the practical tests were the hardest part of the process, it was also what I got the most pleasure from,’ he explains. ‘The only thing I can say I didn't enjoy about the process was the waiting. Since finding out about it in November, I don't think I had a good night’s sleep until June!’

What lies ahead

Since winning the competition, Keiron cannot wait to get started at Le Cordon Bleu. ‘I would have started the day after I won if I could,’ he says. ‘I'm looking forward to learning new skills and techniques, but also about the science behind baking and confectionery, why certain chemical reactions happen and what makes a recipe successful.

‘After the scholarship I get the chance to work under Clare Smyth MBE, an absolute dream come true!’ he adds. ‘I hope that my time here will lead the the way to lots of other opportunities. Throughout my career I want to travel the world and work in some amazing kitchens, to be at a standard where I can compete in competitions such as Coupe de Monde or Hotelympia. I hope to work alongside incredible pastry chefs and absorb as much knowledge as humanly possible.’

But what’s the end game for Keiron, once he’s mastered the skills of a pâtissier? ‘My ultimate dream is to own a world-renowned patisserie,’ he explains. ‘A place that creates the most exciting, delicious and innovative confectionery, where people are in awe of what we do, as I am now when I walk past a fully stocked pâtisserie window. I would still like to create beautiful wedding and celebration cakes, but be able to offer so much more. With the experience I hope to gain from this opportunity and the ones that will follow, I am growing more and more confident that this dream may one day become reality.’

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Le Cordon Bleu Scholarship Award 2016: the winner


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