Hospitality students across the country have been proving their worth recently with groups from Leeds, Hertford and the Midlands winning awards for their culinary skills.
Training is now recognised as a vital part of the pub industry and it is good news for the future that talented youngsters are being encouraged to consider pubs as a career.
Hertfordshire brewer McMullen, in association with Hertford Regional College, has awarded four students a £1,500 bursary each in a chef development programme.
Catering and hospitality students at the college were invited to apply to take part in the project, which included regular work experience in one of McMullen's food pubs with the possibility of a full-time position at the end.
Finalists were chosen by college tutors who looked at the students' enthusiasm, passion and commitment to succeed.
The finalists then worked a session at McMullen's Salisbury Arms Hotel in Hertford with chef Keiran Quigley. They also met McMullen catering development manager Paul Robbins and training manager Helen Darracott before the winners were chosen.
Pub chef Carl Moore, from the Rising Sun in Castleford, near Leeds, has also been celebrating after he came third in the new Norwegian Seafood Focus - Student Challenge.
Competition organisers are keen to see more pub chefs in the finals of both the student event and the Norwegian Seafood Recipe Challenge next year, after the success of this year's cook-off.
Guest judge Jean-Christophe Novelli said: "We had different, interesting and modern ideas presented to us.
"The competitors made our job very hard and the result was very close."
For more information about the competition call 0800 028 7175.
Meanwhile, students from Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies won the first Midland Association of Chefs (MAC) Cook and Serve Challenge, sponsored by Brake Grocery.
The winning team of chef Charlotte Barr, commis David Hands and waiter Gemma Spittle created a three-course meal and then served it to guests within a 90-minute time frame.
"One of the aims of MAC is to encourage and support young chefs to strive for excellence within their profession," said Chris Hudson, chairman of MAC. "The standards we have seen today suggest they have a bright future."
Next year's competition will continue to be sponsored by Brake Grocery and organisers are planning a bigger event.