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28 Nov 2023

The Lecturers Training Challenge: Celebrating lecturers in culinary education

The Lecturers Training Challenge: Celebrating lecturers in culinary education

International Salon Culinaire 2023 saw the launch of a brand-new competition: the Lecturers Training Challenge.

The challenge asked culinary lecturers and educators to record a 5–10-minute video demonstrating their teaching technique for student chefs to learn how to prepare a specific skill or dish.

In the 2023 competition, Livia Alexander, Lecturer at Ayrshire College, secured Best-in-Class and a Gold Medal for her entry. Salon caught up with Livia to learn more about her decision to take part and her winning entry.  

In the world of culinary education, acknowledging the tireless efforts of educators often takes a backseat to spotlighting the future stars they nurture. However, with the launch of the new Lecturers Training Challenge in March 2023, International Salon Culinaire strived to put lecturers front and centre.

For the winner of the Best-in-Class accolade in the inaugural Lecturers Training Challenge, Livia Alexander, her journey to success in the competition started by chance.

"It was an email that dropped into my inbox, as I’m on the Salon mailing list," she shares. Working at Ayrshire College at the time, the decision to participate was driven with a desire to challenge myself and also the rare opportunity to enter a competition aimed at lecturers and recognising what they do.

"I chose the bakery class I taught, because I wanted something that I could give a lot of information and instruction on," she says. Having just concluded a series of pastry lessons, she was drawn to the diversity within the realm of pastries, having recently taught English puff, French puff, and Scotch varieties.

Recognition for lecturers holds immense significance for Livia. "It’s hugely important – it's really nice to recognise what lecturers do and give them the opportunity, to shine" she explains. Teaching can be a selfless endeavour, with educators consistently placing their students' needs above their own. Acknowledgment of their contributions resonates deeply within the educational community.

Reflecting on her win, Livia encourages fellow lecturers to take the leap. "Just give it a go," she advises. "As it was the launch of the challenge, I didn’t know the level I was pitching at and what they were looking for, so it was a bit of a shot in the dark.

“I hadn’t done something like that before and didn’t tell anyone beforehand – I wanted to do it for me. My advice is to enter, it’s what we do daily and great to get a chance to promote our profession”  

The success held profound implications for her career trajectory. "I’ve left further education now, it gave me the confidence to change, and I’m in a new position. I’m not sure I would have done this before I won the challenge" she reveals.

The recognition provided a catalyst for change, propelling her into a new role at The King’s Foundation (formally The Prince’s Foundation), where she now works with secondary school children and those who are looking a career change to introduce them to hospitality through a six-week course, inspiring a new generation of hospitality and foodservice professionals.

In a profession driven by innovation and skill, it’s educators like Livia Alexander who form the backbone of culinary education. Their passion, dedication, and commitment not only shape the industry but also pave the way for aspiring chefs to carve their own paths in the hospitality world.

Interested in entering the 2024 Lecturers Training Challenge? Find out more about the challenge and the more than 100 competitions taking place at International Salon Culinaire on 25-27 March at

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