Timur Jay Ünal, who is head chef at the Brodick Bar and Brasserie on the Isle of Arran, is described as imaginative, creative and passionate, and respected by the other chefs for running a calm kitchen which produces great food.

Starting work in his family’s business as a summer season waiter when he was 16, he quickly showed “amazing rapport” with diners and had an instinctive skill for waiting. Timur soon became head waiter, organising and training front of house staff, hosting, and welcoming diners to the 100-cover restaurant.

After heading to Glasgow to train as a chef, he became a head chef at just 18 and now heads up the Brodick Bar and Brasserie’s team of five chefs and several kitchen porters, with his responsibilities including menus, costing, teaching how to prepare, cook and plate dishes as well as running the pass and cooking.

Timur said: “It was a lovely award to win. Hospitality during coronavirus has been almost impossible, but we have always strived to keep our high standards and aim for rosettes. Winning this award was fantastic not only for me but my family and the business.”

The award, which is in its third year, was launched by the commercial insurer in partnership with industry body Scotland Food & Drink, seeking to uncover inspirational examples of talented 16 to 26-year-olds who own, work or study in the food and drink sector.

It aims to highlight not only the enormous contribution that young people make to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, but also the importance of the sector to the wider economy.

Having originally intended to select a top three, the judges found the quality of this year’s applications too hard to separate, and ultimately decided to recognise a second chef plus four highly commended winners.

Sammy Jo Smith, 26, general operative at Aldomak, won second place. Ellie Torrance, 24, owner of Ell’s Kitchen, Wallace Currie, 24, owner of Rural2Kitchen, Lewis Kennedy, 23, managing director of Talonmore Drinks Company and Shane Price, 23, operations manager at Entier were all highly commended.

Mark McBrearty, NFU Mutual regional manager, described Timur and the other winners as “wonderful ambassadors for our world-famous food and drink industry”, adding: “I was particularly impressed by how each of them has not only coped but thrived throughout the pandemic, a time when the industry has truly suffered.

“I feel confident that the sector is in safe hands if they are just some examples of the young people coming forward within the wonderful range of food and drink firms in Scotland.”

At Scotland Food & Drink, chief executive James Withers said: “Scotland’s food and drink industry is full of talented youngsters who are going to be driving our sector forward in the coming years and all the finalists are a great example of the enormous contribution that young people make to Scotland’s food, drink and hospitality businesses.

“The field of entries was incredibly strong this year, from entrepreneurs starting up their own businesses to young people already making a huge difference inside big companies. It gives us huge optimism for the future of our sector.

“A particular congratulations goes to Timur who is an incredibly worthy winner of this award. To be given the role of head chef at such a young age is a tremendous example of his talent, dedication and hard work. I have no doubt he will go on to have a very successful career in the future.”