Clarkston chef heads to Europe for top competition

From left: Ross, Mark, Principal Paul Little, Callum and NicolleFrom left: Ross, Mark, Principal Paul Little, Callum and Nicolle
From left: Ross, Mark, Principal Paul Little, Callum and Nicolle
City of Glasgow College graduate, Nicolle Finnie, is one of just four young Scots heading to Budapest as part of Team UK for Europe's most prestigious skills competition.

The 21-year-old from Clarkston joins Callum Bonner from Forth Valley College, Ross Megahy of New College Lanarkshire and Mark Scott, who is also representing City of Glasgow College, in Budapest for three days of intense competition.

The four competitors set off for Hungary this Sunday and Nicolle is looking forward to competing.

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She said: “I’m pleased with the brief we’ve been given in terms of what we’re to do. The menus are very rounded which will give me a chance to show my range of skills. I love competitions; I get really energised and want to keep cooking and I enjoy getting the chance to try new things and experiment.”

Paul Little, WorldSkills UK Ambassador for Scotland and principal and chief executive of City of Glasgow College, said: “Our college aims to equip each student with the hard and soft skills they will need to excel in the world of work and it is heartening to know that Nicolle believes that competing in such prestigious competitions has helped to advance her career.

“While a student with us, Nicolle excelled in a number of culinary competitions and, as a graduate, represented our college at international level in last year’s WorldSkills Abu Dhabi Youth Forum. She is training hard, not only for EuroSkills but a place on Team UK for Kazan 2019 and we wish her the best of luck.”

Nicolle’s WorldSkills journey began in 2015 when she won gold in Culinary Art at the UK Skills Show. She represented the college at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi in 2017 and works with City of Glasgow College’s WorldSkills Academy.

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A finalist in the Young National Chef of the Year 2016 which showcases the most talented pool of young chefs in the UK, Nicolle graduated with an HND in Professional Cookery in 2016 and has since gained valuable experience working at One Devonshire, The Balmoral and Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.

Nicolle is currently working with The DRG group at their Atlantic Bar & Brasserie in Glasgow and has no regrets about her choice of career.

She continued: “I love the buzz and fast paced lifestyle. It is busy with long hours but it’s good and I don’t know anything else. It’s what I always wanted to do and I came to City of Glasgow College because I knew it was one of, if not, the best in the country for professional cookery.

“Gary Maclean was my lecturer and encouraged me to take part in competitions and backed me and supported me. Competing gives you an edge, it has definitely fast tracked my career, and I have confidence in my abilities because I have been taught well,” said Nicolle.

EuroSkills runs from September 26 to 28. Up to 28 countries from all over Europe are expected to take part across a total of 39 skills with an estimated 80,000 spectators attending.