With TV show Hotel GB highlighting the impact that vocational training can have on the lives of young people, Newcastle College has reaffirmed its own role in fostering top class talent within the hospitality industry after one of its trained students secured a unique career opportunity at a top North East restaurant.
The Channel 4 show saw a real hotel in London taken over for a week by nine celebrities, including hot tempered chef Gordon Ramsay and fashion guru Gok Wan, who were tasked with training 14 unemployed youngsters, all of which were offered jobs by the end of the series.
Now in the style of Hotel GB, former Newcastle College student Callum Ash has landed a job at top North East restaurant Café 21 after the college provided him with the right training to take top prize in a prestigious cookery competition and the skills to impress a highly successful British chef.
Callum, 20 and from Longbenton, has joined the upmarket Quayside eatery as a commis chef after completing his Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery at Newcastle College. During a six week work placement at the restaurant organised by the college, Callum not only impressed renowned chef and Café 21 owner Terry Laybourne with his culinary talent, but took first place in the Eat! North East Future Chef 2012 competition.
Callum, who attended St. Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive school in Longbenton before studying at Newcastle College, is now keen to advance his career at the restaurant and has already been given the responsibility of helping to prepare around 200 starters on a busy Saturday night.
Callum said: “To win the Eat! North East Future Chef 2012 competition was one thing, but to be given a job at one of the region’s best known restaurants is a dream come true for me. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have done it without Newcastle College, which provided me with the practical skills and confidence I needed to make a positive impact on a chef like Terry Laybourne.”
It’s not the first time that Café 21 has drawn on the culinary skills of Newcastle College trained students. Also working in its kitchens are junior sous chef Richard Wheatley, 22, baker Stefan Milligan, 20, and Chef de Partie Ben Griffiths-Hardman, 24, all of whom studied the Advanced Professional Cookery Diploma at the college.
Terry Laybourne said: “Callum has certainly impressed us so far after completing what can often be a tricky first couple of weeks and I’m sure he will now go on to take even greater strides in his career.
“We employ a number of kitchen staff that have studied at Newcastle College, which has given them a solid foundation on which to build on at the restaurant.”
The Lifestyle Academy at Newcastle College is one of only eight colleges in the country to be awarded a badge of excellence, from the National Skills Academy (NSA) for its Diploma In Professional Cookery courses.
Students have the opportunity to work within a 65 seater on-site bistro, as well as a more formal Chefs’ Academy, which offers high class dining.
Susan Davis, section manager at Newcastle College Lifestyle Academy, said: “Hotel GB proved that vocational training can transform the lives of young people and Callum’s appointment is a great endorsement for the vocational courses we have on offer at Newcastle College.”