We recently has the opportunity to sit down with Ethan O’Hare & Hayley Wilkes from WeeCook, who recently won the Young Pie Maker of the Year at the British Pie Awards, and has been nominated as a Rising Star at the forthcoming Courier Food & Drink Awards. We think you will agree, Ethan is a shining example of the up and coming talent we have in the Angus food and drink scene, and a great example of what can be achieved through a career in hospitality.


Appetite for Angus: Ethan, congratulations on your recent win as Young Pie Maker of the Year at the British Pie Awards! How does it feel to receive such recognition for your work?

Ethan: Thank you! It came as a bit of a shock but it’s truly an honor. Winning this award has been a validation of all the hard work and dedication I’ve put into perfecting my craft at Wee Cook. It’s the 3rd time a former WeeCook apprentice has picked up the award which is just unreal. We also picked up another award for our Housewife’s Pie (Fishwife pie) , which topped off a pretty amazing day in Melton Mowbray for myself and Tessa who attended the awards finalists lunch.

Appetite for Angus: Could you tell us a bit about your journey into the hospitality industry and what drew you to it?

Ethan: Absolutely. I’ve always had a passion for cooking, ever since I was a child helping out in the kitchen with my mum. As I got older, I realised that pursuing a career in hospitality would allow me to turn that passion into a profession. The fast-paced environment, the creativity involved in crafting dishes, and the satisfaction of seeing happy customers enjoying my food all drew me in. I started with WeeCook in 2019 aged 17 and I’m now 22and I’m loving every day I spend in the kitchen, it’s my happy place.

Appetite for Angus: You’ve worked at Wee Cook for a few years now. What is it about your job that you love the most?

Ethan: At Wee Cook, it’s not just about cooking food; it’s about creating experiences for our customers. I love the camaraderie and banter among the team, the constant opportunity to learn and grow, and the sense of pride that comes with being part of a professional hard working team. Plus, working under Hayley’s guidance has been incredibly inspiring.

Appetite for Angus: Speaking of Hayley, could you share some insight into the impact she’s had on you as a mentor and boss?

Ethan: Hayley has been instrumental in my development as a chef. She’s not only taught me essential culinary skills but also instilled in me the importance of mise en place (Chef prep & organisation), attention to detail, creativity, and passion and pride in everything I do. Her guidance and support have been invaluable, and I’m grateful to have her as a mentor.

Appetite for Angus: Hayley, as Ethan’s boss, what can you tell us about his contributions to the team at Wee Cook?

Hayley (Wee Cook): Ethan is an integral member of our team at Wee Cook. His dedication, creativity, and positive attitude are evident in everything he does. He brings energy, passion and a fresh perspective to our kitchen and he consistently delivers exceptional results and supports his colleagues to do the same. The customers love him, he’s got a cheeky & warm personality that just shines. Ethan’s passion for his work is contagious, and he’s truly a rising star in the hospitality industry.

Appetite for Angus: Ethan, you’ve been nominated as a Rising Star at the forthcoming Courier Food & Drink Awards. What advice would you give to other young people considering a career in the food and drink sector?

Ethan: My advice would be to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow, whether through formal education, apprenticeships, or hands-on experience. The hospitality industry is incredibly rewarding, but it also requires hard work, dedication, and resilience. You will work weekends. Surround yourself with passionate mentors like Hayley, who can inspire and guide you along the way. And most importantly, and positive colleagues who will help you and have your back. Never lose sight of your passion for food and hospitality—it’s what will drive you to succeed even in the face of challenges. Oh, and have fun – you spend a lot of time at work, it’s got to make you smile!

Some quick fire questions:

Your favourite chef? Marcus Waring then Hayley obviously!

Your signature dish? Steak frites

Your least favourite food? Strawberries… please don’t tell Michelle at Balhungie Berries!

Potato peeling or pot washing? Pot washing.. that’s how is started

Your favourite WeeCook pie? Beef steak Bourguignon