The Staff Canteen Live College Tour at University College Birmingham

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen's Live College Tour went to University College Birmingham today to inspire the city's budding hospitality talent.

We were joined by Opheem chef director Aktar Islam, MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Louisa Ellis, Michelin-starred Peels' head chef, Rob Palmer, and Alton Towers Resort executive head chef, David Lythall, as well as sponsor representatives from Alaska Seafood and Koppert Cress. 

Like all of The Staff Canteen's Live College Tour events, the intervention was led in association with Hospitality Action and the 14Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, and The Staff Canteen donated £1000 to the charity on behalf of the chefs on the panel.

Students were entered into a raffle, and the lucky winner, Emma Davis, Culinary Arts Management level 3 student, will be given the chance to spend a day working in a kitchen of her choosing among the panelists' places of employment.  

The chefs spoke to the students and answered their questions about a broad range of subjects, such as how to lead a successful career in hospitality and what to expect on a day-to-day basis, the importance of setting oneself goals and why it is equally as necessary to understand the business side of running a restaurant as it is to ensure food and service are kept to an impeccable standard. 

12"It's really important on my course, especially given the management aspect of it means that I'm quite academic most of the time. It puts perspective on the end game and reassures and motivates you to what you want to do. Events like this are so important for students like us who aren't just cooking in the kitchen," said third year Culinary Arts Management student Yusuf Ali. 

Neil Rippington, Dean of the College of Food at UCB, said the aim of today was for students to be exposed to industry chefs. 

"I always think it's great to get an honest perspective of what life is like in the industry, which is why we invite students from different course levels." 

In order to connect the industry and academia, he said, it is essential that both parties understand each other better, and that events like today are essential for this. 

Finally, raffle winner Emma Davis said that even if she hadn't won a day in a chef's kitchen - and hasn't yet chosen which one she will spend it with - she felt that she gained a lot from having attended. 

"It's been really interesting to hear the chefs' views and opinions and what their backgrounds are. Education means a lot these days, so it was reassuring to hear that two of them didn't go to college and went straight into the industry and worked their way up." 

She said she was glad to have the point reiterated that there is more to being a chef than fine dining, and that there are many routes to success that don't necessarily involve being trained in a Michelin star restaurant. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th April 2019

The Staff Canteen Live College Tour at University College Birmingham