ESS apprentice selected for internship at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie

Izabela Ginter, chef de partie for ESS, the Defence, Energy and Government Services sector of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has been announced as the first apprentice to take up a Compass Scotland placement at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, which is located in The Gleneagles Hotel.

Izabela (pictured left) was chosen from a number of high performing Compass Scotland apprentices to join Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred chef and Compass Scotland’s Culinary Ambassador, Stephen (Stevie) McLaughlin (right), for a four-month internship.

She will work alongside the award-winning team and learn direct from Stevie in the kitchen at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland.

A former winner of the Compass Young Chef of the Year competition, Izabela is a talented chef, who also won three awards at the Salon Culinaire in March 2020, one of the world’s top competitions for chefs.

Originally from Poland, Izabela joined ESS as a kitchen porter in 2014 following her move to Aberdeen. It was here that she was first inspired to become a chef.

Since then, she has worked in a number of roles, from food service assistant up to commis chef, before beginning a Modern Apprenticeship in Food & Drink Operations L3 – CDP pathway in July 2019. The apprenticeship helped turn her passion into a career and in 2020 she achieved her goal and became a chef de partie.

Izabela is now working towards the sous chef level on her career pathway and was chosen for this prestigious internship because of her enthusiasm, hard work and commitment to developing her skills.

Izabela enthused, “I’m over the moon to have been offered this incredible opportunity to work alongside one of the finest chefs in the UK. I’ve been extremely lucky to work in a professional kitchen and learn from some really talented chefs, including my mentors (and heroes), Compass Scotland and ESS Culinary Director, Chef Graham Singer, as well as Chef Barry Fleming and Chef Chris McLeod - so I can’t believe I’ll now be adding Stevie McLaughlin to that list.”

Stevie said, “At Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, we’re passionate about the importance of apprenticeships in supporting the next generation of talent. I was fortunate enough to work alongside my mentor Andrew Fairlie and progressed through the ranks – so I truly understand how valuable this kind of opportunity can be.

'Izabela has an excellent attitude and skillset, with heaps of potential, so we’re excited to have her working in the kitchen alongside us.”

Mark Webster, Managing Director – ESS, added, “We’re incredibly proud of Izabela for being selected as the first Compass Scotland apprentice to work at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie. It’s a great achievement and testament to her talent, drive and commitment. Congratulations Izabela!

'I’d also like to recognise the culinary team in our Energy sector who work so hard to mentor and develop the next generation of talent – it’s so important for our business and the wider hospitality industry.”

It was announced in March that Stevie had taken on the role of Culinary Ambassador for Compass Scotland. He is playing a key role in the esteemed Compass Scotland apprenticeship and training programme and working alongside the culinary team to continue to drive innovation and develop the next generation of talent.

Stevie is one of Scotland’s most respected chefs. He worked with Andrew Fairlie for 26 years, initially at One Devonshire Gardens then at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, where he joined as a sous chef when it first opened in 2001 before being made head chef in 2006.

Restaurant Andrew Fairlie was awarded a Michelin star in 2002, within a year of opening. The second star was added in 2006. In 2017, the restaurant became the first Scottish establishment included in Les Grandes Tables du Monde, a guide listing 170 of the most distinguished restaurants in the world.