Hearts Reserve player and Academy graduate Chris Hamilton was crowned king of the kitchen at Tynecastle yesterday when he was named winner of a “master chef” competition at a club charity event.
Chris and 14 other Hearts youngsters have developed their culinary skills through a 10-week employability course run by the charity, Next Step Foundation. It provides a unique and holistic approach to education, skill development and mental health and wellbeing support for all sports people, at all levels, throughout the UK.
Sunday’s event was the culmination of the course’s competitive element with the players catering for corporate guests and a top table including Hearts owner Ann Budge and Next Step Foundation’s Julie O’Donnell, with funds raised going to Save The Children.
Ann Budge said: "It was been a wonderful event and it has been marvellous to see our young stars of the future putting their cooking skills to the test.
"The Master Chef course, run in partnership with Next Step Foundation, has taught our players life skills that stand them in good stead both away from the pitch and for the future, and I know they have enjoyed taking part in it.
"I hope everyone has enjoyed this event at Tynecastle Park and we have managed to raise lots of money for Save the Children."
Thanks to the course Hearts Academy youngsters, including Harry Cochrane, Euan Henderson and Anthony McDonald, are now equipped with new skills to help them enjoy independent living, as well as SQA Employability Level 4 and Food Handling Hygiene certification.
Next Step Foundation Operations Manager Julie O’Donnell added: “Our aim is to partner with clubs and organisations to provide sports people like these Hearts Academy players with the transferable skills to allow them to easily transition from a sporting life to a fulfilling life after sport.”
For more information about the work of Next Step Foundation visit http://nextstepfoundation.co.uk/
Photos courtesy of Ron MacNeill