Chef Robert Yuill was one of the two winners of the British Beer and Pub Association’s (BBPA) Parliamentary Pub Chef Awards in 2016. Nominated by MP Chris Law, Yuill took home the award for Young Chef of the Year and has since progressed by leaps and bounds.
Speaking on his life since the win, he said: “Winning the award made an instant difference to my life. It brought instant recognition locally via local news and media, and opened up doors for me to progress professionally.”
Chef Yuill has gone on to various opportunities, leaving his former pub D’Arcy Thompson to work in a hotel before returning to the pub industry in the head chef position at The Pitlessie Village Inn, Fife.
It is safe to say that he does not rest on his laurels as he adds: “We are hoping to push modern pub food to rosette level… I have found that modern pub food involves a much wider scale of creativity and is much more rewarding.”
The awards also involved a cook-off that showcased the varying skills of finalists. Chef Yuill found the competition and experience to be an honour as he said: “I enjoyed every aspect of the competition. It was a privilege to be involved in something so passionate in recognising the skills that go into cooking in pubs, and all the expertise shared by all the people involved. It was also great to be up against some amazingly talented chefs, by the standards produced on the day I don’t think the competition could have been any tighter.”
Experience is the best teacher they say and Chef Yuill embraced the learning curve, he commented: “I learned that I can perform under immense pressure, and that on the day I could compete with some of the best in the country.”
Promoting the pub industry as an appealing career path is one of the motives of the awards, and Chef Yuill acknowledges the benefits to the role, adding: “Being recognised for your work is a massive honour, especially by your peers, Nestle, and the British Beer and Pub Association.”
He further encourages other pub chefs and nominees saying: “Just to do what you always do, that’s why you will have got nominated. Also, to enjoy the experience and make the most of the time you are involved in it, I would do it again in a heartbeat.”