VIDEO: The Staff Canteen celebrates hospitality as a great career choice with top chefs at Westminster Kingsway College

The Staff Canteen

This week The Staff Canteen launched the first in a series of live college tours - celebrating hospitality as a great career choice.

We had an amazing panel of chefs at Westminster Kingsway College, who shared their culinary journeys and offered advice to the students lucky enough to be in the audience.

Sponsored by Alaska Seafood and Koppert Cress, the college tour aims to inspire and motivate young chefs as well as inform them on the different sectors of the industry they can go in to.

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Katie Petherbridge, Northern Europe Marketing Representative, Alaska Seafood said: “It was great to be a part of The Staff Canteen’s first ever live college tour. With such a celebrated panel offering career advice and telling stories of their own journeys in the field of hospitality, we hope the students of Westminster Kingsway College were inspired and motivated to continue their development and growth within the sector.”

The chefs on the panel were Michelin-starred John Williams MBE, Executive Chef of The Ritz London who studied at Westminster Kingsway as a young chef; Alyn Williams, Chef Patron of Alyn Williams at The Westbury and The Wild Rabbit; Rob Kennedy, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland; Glenn Evans, Head of Food Development at Las Iguanas and Ruth Hansom, Head Chef at Luton Hoo hotel and also part of the college’s alumni.

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John Williams, who is also Chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, one of The Staff Canteen College Tour partners, said: “I hope the students have had an insight into what the industry is all about. We were all honest in saying it is hard work but it is great fun, it’s a job you can travel the world with and there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had.

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John Williams and Rudy Clifton

“It’s so important for us as chefs to come and speak to students, if we don’t who will speak to the young people who want to come in to our industry? There should be a desire to actually teach them.”

Rob Kennedy added: “I think it’s really important as industry professionals we put a clear message out to the students who are the future of our foundation, that hospitality and catering is so exciting and in this day and age the culture has changed, the hours are better but the inspiration and the passion all remains the same.

“This is an amazing platform for students to pose their questions which will probably really help them with the next step of their culinary journey. The opportunities which The Staff canteen are offering at conferences like this are amazing.”

All the students who attended were entered into a draw to win two signed Practical Cookery books and the chance to work in the kitchen of one of the chefs on the panel. The winner was Rudy Clifton who is studying for a Professional Chef Diploma at Westminster Kingsway College.

He said: “I picked to spend a day at The Ritz because in my opinion it’s the most prestigious kitchen in London. I thought the event was really helpful for the future and it was really interesting to meet the suppliers too. Then to win the competition too, I never expected that I’m over the moon.”

He added: “I’d definitely recommend the event because it highlights how broad the industry is – you don’t just have to go down the Michelin path there are so many other routes.”

Students were able talk to all of The Staff Canteen sponsors and partners ahead of the panel debate, they could try the products and find out more about what they were offering.

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Paul Da-Costa-Greaves, Koppert Cress Countries Manager UK, Middle East and Asia, said: “The interesting thing with Koppert Cress is we share the need to deliver and educate and give back to the colleges and students. We share similarities because it’s important that young chefs coming through we are there to support them.

“The students have all been enthusiastic and energised, they’ve all been looking and tasting the plants. Once they understand the flavours and the tastes they start to see us as not the garnish but the ingredient.”

He added: “Working with The Staff Canteen is always a success for Koppert Cress.”  

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The Staff Canteen also donated a thousand pounds to another partner of the tour, Hospitality Action, on behalf of the chefs on the panel, which was presented to Chief Executive Mark Lewis.

And as a thank you, Sue Yeates, a chef lecturer at the college, who helped make The Staff Canteen Live College Tour a success, was presented with a voucher for dinner for two at The Ritz, a signed The Ritz Cookbook and she'll get a kitchen tour during her visit. 

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Thanks to Nyetimber for gifting all the chefs a bottle of Blanc de Blancs 2010

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th December 2018

VIDEO: The Staff Canteen celebrates hospitality as a great career choice with top chefs at Westminster Kingsway College