HIT Scotland are due to announce the Scholarships Programme and we are keen to advertise the wide selection of Scholarships available. To that end we want to promote the benefits of the Scholarships and the opportunities they enable. Here's HIT Scholar Helen Vass' story.
HIT Scotland is a charity which has been a big part of my career. I first applied for a HIT Scholarship in 2006 and I had the opportunity to spend a summer at the Turnberry resort working in different parts of the hotel as I was applying for the Starwood Hotels Vita Futura graduate scheme. I got to the final stage of the graduate scheme assessment centre in Bilbao but it was not meant to be and over time, I felt that my career was to take me to the kitchen.
I trained to be a pastry chef at City of Glasgow College between August 2013 and May 2014 where I did my HNC in Patisserie and worked the weekends as a pastry commis chef in the Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow.
Once I completed my studies, I moved to Barcelona to work in the Pastelería Escribà, the oldest patisserie in Barcelona. This role took me to Singapore for a month to work at the world’s first pastry theatrical event, Fantasia by Escribà at Marina Bay Sands. Whilst working in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to do a stage with World Champion Pastry Chef, Jordi Bordas and spent a month in the kitchen of Baker, Daniel Jorda before moving back to Glasgow.
In February 2014 I was awarded the pastry scholarship where I had the opportunity to go to Gleneagles and learn from William Curley, Willie Pike and Neil Mugg. This was a great experience to see new techniques and learn from some of the best in the industry.
I have been the sole pastry chef at 2AA rosette restaurant, Number 16, on Glasgow’s Byres Road since July 2015, responsible for designing and making all the desserts. I was one of the winners this year on BBC2’s Bake Off Creme de la Creme, hosted by Michelin Star Chef, Tom Kerridge. This was a fantastic experience and it showed me that I can push myself to achieve in a high pressure situation!