Trainee chefs take the reins at college restaurant

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Trainee chefs take the reins at college restaurant

Trainee commis chefs from the Lake District and North Lancashire have been given the chance to run their own restaurant for the day.

The six students from the English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues Culinary Academy took control of Kendal College’s restaurant to get ‘real-time’

experience of the pressures, challenges and successes that come with managing and preparing a venue’s food and drink orders.

The food service and hospitality challenge is part of the group’s overall training with the academy, which includes a fully accredited apprenticeship programme to learn the trade of a commis chef.

Recent academy graduates Maria Cheetham from Haverigg, Jonny Marriott from Staveley and Rebecca Atkinson from Heysham, were joined by latest recruits Abbie Spencer from Morecambe and Travis Locke from South Africa.  Bryan Rojas from Spain, who is doing his level 3 training also took part, as did Charlie Henderson from Samuel King’s School, Alston, who has been undertaking work experience with the academy.

Working as a team, the students provided 44 diners with a three course menu with different options.  Starters included Frank Benson’s Morecambe Bay Shrimps with brioche, lemon, dill and cucumber, whilst the mains featured roast rack of herb crusted Cumbrian lamb with a range of tasty trimmings, as well as monkfish loin wrapped in Parma ham.

Desserts included a lemon and thyme crème Brule with butter shortbread and steeped raspberries or a passion fruit, mango, oat and honey crumble.

Head chef at the English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues Culinary Academy Daniel Winstanley says:  “The restaurant takeover day is one of the biggest challenges we set the students.  It’s in real time and they take full responsibility from customer order to clearing the plates.  Two things really stood out: their collective ability to work under pressure as a team, and that they all clearly thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

Rebecca Atkinson adds: “This opportunity at the college has allowed us to manage a kitchen whilst preparing dishes from the restaurants where we work. Daniel rightly expects high standards from us and of course we collectively wanted to impress our guests.  It was pressurised but a lot of fun.”

Andrew Salt from Kendal College explains: “This was a great opportunity for the apprentice chefs to showcase their culinary skills, and they’ve been supported throughout by the college’s full time catering students.

The college has enjoyed this collaboration immensely and we had a full house of lucky diners who had the opportunity to sample some really tasty dishes.”

Delivered in partnership with Kendal College, the English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues Culinary Academy is now into its fifth year.  Maria Cheetham and Travis Locke are working and training at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa in Windermere, Jonny Marriott is at the Wild Boar Inn at Crook, Bryan Rojas at Lancaster House Hotel and Abbie Spencer and Rebecca Atkinson at the art-deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe.

For further information about jobs at English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, visit or to apply for the Culinary Academy, email [email protected] or visit