A PICKERING apprentice ice-cream maker has picked up two gongs at a recent industry awards.

Max Whitfield, 20, has only been a gelato maker at Dottie’s parlour in Pickering for about 10 months.

His work was recognised at the recent National Ice Cream Competition in Harrogate, winning two "diplomas" in the National Open Flavour Class for two gelatos - his "rocky road" and his Yorkshire honey and walnut.

On the awards, Max said: “It feels amazing. I was surprised and ecstatic.”

He added that he only saw the opening at the establishment by chance. “I was just walking by when they were building Dottie’s and saw the ads, so I applied. It worked out for me,” he said.

He already had some experience of making ice cream at college but “nothing this professional”.

“I really enjoy it - it’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he added.

Zoe Clarke, owner of Dottie’s, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Max, as he has never made gelato until he started his apprenticeship with us 10 months ago.

“We’re really pleased with his progress and what he’s achieved.”

Max is also set to continue his training with ice-cream makers on a trip to Milan, developing his gelato decorating skills even further with some of the leading gelato chefs in the world.

The National Ice Cream Competition awards are organised by the Ice Cream Alliance, the UK trade association for ice cream manufacturers and retailers.

Dottie’s was not the only local business represented. Ryeburn of Helmsley won a range of awards, including the silver challenge cup for their mint choc chip, silver in the open flavour class for their chocolate hazelnut, and diplomas for a number of other ice creams, sorbets and fro-yos.