Three of the UK's most renowned chefs, Tom Kitchin, Theo Randall and Michel Roux Jr are returning to catering college. They're each looking for a young student to take under their wing, someone they can mentor and inspire, eventually becoming their protege.
A cooking competition like no other, The Chef's Protege, centres on the relationship between apprentice and master. Over 20 episodes the series shows the day-to-day reality of the cooking industry and how the masters of today can nurture stars of tomorrow.
Tom, Theo and Michel have all been helped in their careers by someone who believed in them; now they want to give someone the same chance. Each chef has a week to select and train up their strongest candidates before coming together to compete to see who has found the best protege.
With most of the students still in their teens, it is up to the chefs to find a way to teach, inspire and test them without destroying their confidence or ambition - a fine line to tread when the prominent chefs are used to working with resilient professionals in their own kitchens.
This week sees Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin begin his search as he returns to Perth College in Scotland where he himself trained. In this first episode he meets four of the college's best students as he sets them a simple test to assess their level of skill, their instinct in the kitchen and more importantly what kind of bond he can potentially develop with them. Asking the students to prepare scallops using an array of ingredients, including fennel and orange, Tom quickly gets an idea of the type of chefs these youngsters have the potential to be.
The four chefs are then brought together as Tom shows them how to cook a dish that reflects his core culinary principles - maximising flavour with the best Scottish ingredients: a seafood ragout made with seven different types of Scottish seafood. Working under Tom's tutelage the students recreate the dish before he decides which one will leave the process.
Three students will go through to the next stage, where they will continue to learn and develop their skills, in the hope of becoming The Chef's Protege.