A detective hoping to pursue a career as a chef has had a “dream come true” after being awarded a scholarship worth £45,000.

Lois Farmer of Leytonstone was crowned winner of the 2018 Julia Child Scholarship by Le Cordon Bleu after the finals on Wednesday (June 6).

Lois’ positive attitude towards cooking captivated the judges in the UK-wide competition that saw 16 candidates reach the final.

The aim of the programme is to give career changers an opportunity to pursue their passion in the culinary arts and Lois’ ambition to move on from policing caught the judges’ eyes.

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She said: “To win the Julia Child Scholarship by Le Cordon Bleu is a dream come true.

“The whole process has been a great experience and I never expected to win. It still hasn’t sunk in.

“To also be mentored by Adam Ashe, Eran Tibi, Hideko Kawa, Luciana Berry and train under Monica Galetti is going to be an amazing experience.”

Having previously worked as a coast guard, Lois is now preparing to leave her job as a police detective and work towards her long-term goal of opening restaurant and cooking school to help young people with ADHD.

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Her prize includes a place on Cordon Bleu’s most prestigious qualification, the Grand Diplôme, which is a nine-month programme providing training in both pâtisserie and cuisine.

She will also benefit from a three-month internship at Mere Restaurant under the guidance of founder Monica Galetti, and luxury accommodation in central London, courtesy of the Londonist.

The finals took place in one of Le Cordon Bleu’s state-of-the-art kitchens where chef Eric Bediat, head of cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu London, hosted a demonstration and explained step-by-step the key techniques needed to create savoury Bouchée.

The finalists then recreated the dish and were given the liberty to showcase their creativity by choosing between a selection of ingredients and how they wanted to plate the dish.

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Mr Bediat, who was also a judge, said: “This year’s Julia Child Scholarship has been an exciting journey as we have come across many talented candidates.

“It was especially difficult to choose from all the passionate finalists, we did not judge solely on the culinary skills but rather we based our judgement on the candidate’s attitude, participation, creativity and aptitude to take feedback from Le Cordon Bleu Chefs”.

Ms Galetti added: “I am just honoured to be a part of this with Lois as I believe training as a chef to be truly important. She has chosen to pursue an optimistic art and is brave to accept this wonderful challenge to invent happiness every day.”

A recent survey found that 52 per cent of Brits dream of changing their hobby into a career.