Award winners aim for career success

Liga Sprukte, who won the Catherine and Andrew Philp Quaich at Elmwood
Liga Sprukte, who won the Catherine and Andrew Philp Quaich at Elmwood

A Cupar mother-of-three is carving out a successful cookery career after scooping a prestigious award at SRUC Elmwood campus.

Liga Sprukte, who’s originally from Latvia, received the Catherine and Andrew Philp Quaich at the college’s annual awards ceremony.

She’s currently working at a Mexican restaurant in St Andrews run by the hospitality group G1 – a job she says she wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for the qualification she gained at Elmwood.

Liga moved to Cupar three years ago with her husband and children, having already gained four years’ cookery experience in her home country.

She wanted to achieve a qualification which would make her more employable, and was delighted to discover that the college had a hospitality section complete with training kitchen, training restaurant and training bakery.

Liga has particularly enjoyed the study trips that have given her an insight into the Scottish culture and Scottish foods.

They included a visit to the Old Course in St Andrews and the Byre Theatre where she and her fellow students catered for a weekend event with a specialised vegan menu.

Now Liga, who particularly enjoys cake making, is returning to Elmwood after the summer to progress onto the HNC Hospitality course.

She said: “I’m looking forward to learning more skills and theory. I want to gain as much information as I can about the different dishes”.

Also prominent amongst the award winners was Stephanie Haworth, who received the Derek Young Quaich for outstanding contribution to college life.

Stephanie, who studied NC Conservation at Elmwood, enrolled in the college seeking a change of career.

She had worked in catering since the age of 15, but with hobbies including surfing, diving and walking, a career outdoors was something that appealed more to her.

Now Stephanie has been given a much sought-after place with Scottish Natural Heritage on a year-long work placement.

She will enjoy four seasons working on the Isle of May and Tentsmuir National Nature Reserves alongside the resident countryside rangers and volunteers.

“I’m very excited about the placement,” she said.

“The first week will involve training and working through all the qualifications needed before I can start. Then it will be straight into the hard work – I can hardly wait!

“I hope that the placement will provide me with the opportunity for potential employers to see me work. My ideal job would be a conservation manager for an organisation like the John Muir Trust, being able to show people what we are doing and why we are doing it”.