A mother of two young children who signed up for an apprenticeship with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, not only won a raft of medals, but also qualified for the UK final of a skills competition during the recent Welsh International Culinary Championships.
Aiyeesha Barron Clarke, 25, from Holyhead, who is a Level 3 Professional Cookery apprentice, competed over three days at the championships, which were held at the college's Rhos-on-Sea campus, coming away with five awards!
She won the overall bronze medal in the Skills Competition Wales - Advanced Culinary Arts final, which automatically qualifies her for the UK final in Birmingham later this year. Aiyeesha travelled to Builth Wells in November 2017 to compete in the preliminary heats of the competition.
During the championships, Aiyeesha also won four other awards: silver - best in class (modern cold desserts), silver (major street food challenge), bronze (Welsh lamb main course) and a merit award (major chicken challenge).
In the modern cold desserts competition, Aiyeesha prepared Matcha and miso caramel cheesecake, with milk skin. The Street Food Challenge saw her concoct Korean pork belly, carrot and pear, served in a gem leaf and sesame seeds. The Welsh lamb main course consisted of a herb-crusted cannon of lamb with carrots and courgettes. Finally, for the major chicken challenge, she prepared stuffed chicken wings, sweetcorn puree and egg yolk fondant.
Gail Evans, work placement officer for Hospitality, said:
Aiyeesha is a dedicated and determined student who has a passion for cooking. This is a great achievement, especially as she has achieved all this whilst having two young children at home.
Aiyeesha started on her journey with Coleg Menai in partnership with the Oyster Catcher training academy in Rhosneigr back in January 2015, where she completed the Level 1 Food Preparation and Cooking and Level 1 Food and Beverage Services qualifications. Following her completion of the Level 1 qualifications, she then progressed on to an apprenticeship, successfully completing her Level 2 Professional Cookery qualification in November 2016.
Aiyeesha then secured employment at a newly-built restaurant on Anglesey, 'Catch 22', in Valley, and has been part of the kitchen team since day one. She returned to education in September 2017, undertaking the Level 3 Professional Cookery qualification, once more under the apprenticeship scheme.
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