For 2013 world Belgian champion Barthélémy Deutsch, the competition in Leipzig had not even ended before he received job offers from not one, but two, Michelin 3-star restaurants.
“For me, it was amazing to be able to choose between some of the best restaurants in my field,” says Barth, who ended up working for The Fat Duck Restaurant in Berkshire, England, for one year.
“I chose The Fat Duck because it offered me more of an adventure. I also wanted to improve my English alongside perfecting my skills, so it was the obvious choice.
“It was very hard at times but the experience gained, the connections made, and learning the language made it priceless.”
Being part of WorldSkills, says Barth, who volunteers as a mentor and ambassador for WorldSkills Belgium, helped him see he could be proud of his trade.
“I heard the questions change from, ‘why are you doing that?’ to ‘wow, that’s amazing’. It opened my eyes to all the opportunities in my field and gave me confidence. Before, I would never have thought that I would be good enough to work in a Michelin 3-star restaurant.”
With this year’s EuroSkills championship taking place in Budapest in September, Barth, who promotes WorldSkills events outside of competitions in his role as a WorldSkills Champion Trust Representative for Europe, has some advice for this year’s competitors:
“It is something that happens once in a lifetime, so enjoy every single moment! Stay focused, but enjoy yourself.”