A Larne woman is “bursting with pride” after her step son earned an internship at a five-star Michelin restaurant in Budapest.
Geraldine Connon, an internationally-renowned fashion designer from the town, travelled to the Hungarian capital with her husband Miguel Neves, to sample the delights on offer at Costes restaurant, where Miguel’s son Filipe has been offered a contract as a chef de partie.
Twenty-one-year-old Filipe Neves, from Lisbon in Portugal, shot to fame in his homeland earlier this year after appearing on the Portuguese version of TV’s MasterChef.
Out of 1,000 applicants, Filipe finished seventh in the cooking competition and caught the eye of one of the judges, renowned chef Miguel Rocha Vieira.
After his elimination from the show, Filipe was offered the chance of a lifetime to work alongside chef Vieira at his restaurant in Budapest, which was the first in the city to receive a Michelin star back in 2010.
A delighted Geraldine told the Times: “Filipe became something of a celebrity in Portugal thanks to the show, and has now been given the chance to hone his skills at a prestigious restaurant alongside a highly-regarded chef.
“Before this, Filipe was unemployed and had no real direction in life.
“But he is keen to learn and well-mannered, and he made such a good impression on the show that chef Vieria has completely embraced him and taken Filipe under his wing.”
To show his appreciation to chef Vieria’s for his faith in Filipe, Miguel – who is a sculpture by trade – hand-carved an intricate plate out of African tiger wood.
Miguel and Geraldine travelled to Budapest to present the piece of art to chef Vieria at Costes restaurant.
Geraldine said: “The plate was in display at Larne Museum and Arts Centre for a time, but it now takes pride of place in chef Vieria’s home.”
During their visit to Costes, the couple also got the chance to sample some of the five-star food on offer.
“The food was amazing and we were made to feel so welcome.
“The funny thing about all of this is, we didn’t even know Filipe could cook before he entered MasterChef!
“This has been a truly life-changing experience for him,” Geraldine concluded.