Not content with hanging up their whites for the summer, six West Lothian College students grasped the opportunity of a six-week paid placement in the iconic Gleneagles Hotel where they honed their culinary skills and were mentored by some of the best chefs in the business.
The students completed a comprehensive induction before being placed in the various restaurants across the hotel, ranging from casual to formal dining.
The whole experience would not have been possible without the collaboration between Gleneagles partners, Executive Chef Simon Attridge, Culinary Development Partner, Paul Hart, and college lecturers Audrey Buckley and Paul Devonshire.
Paul Hart said: “At Gleneagles, we’re committed to nurturing talent and supporting the next generation of chefs. We were delighted to welcome these six eager and promising students and watch them grow in confidence and experience over the summer. We look forward to following and supporting them as they progress in their careers.”
The students are now back at college where it’s clear that their passion for the industry has never been stronger.
Jennifer Forgrave from Knightsridge was working in the hotel’s pastry kitchen. She said: “I would help make pastries and often do service. I really enjoyed it, everyone there was so lovely and I learned a lot of new stuff! I feel like I learned to deal with pressure a lot better and can think on my feet a lot quicker.”
Ben Smith, Ratho, who worked in the Strathearn restaurant, added: “I worked with some fantastic chefs and learned a lot. I learned about time management, thinking on my feet, dealing with problems as they come and I feel like I’ve got a new passion for cooking. It was unreal.”
Eugenia Nworji, Bathgate, who also helped out in the Strathearn kitchen, said: “It was really good, but a lot busier than I was expecting! I was doing breakfast and we were cooking for about 500 people in the mornings but I really enjoyed it. For me it was just a great experience overall and I learned how to work well at a fast pace.”
After the success of these placements the hotel and college will work in partnership to allow students to gain further work experience over the next few months.
Paul Hart added that the college “had sent them a really good group of students” and he looked forward to building on this partnership between West Lothian College and Gleneagles.
Lecturer Paul Devonshire, himself a former executive sous chef at Gleneagles, said: “Partnerships like this ensure that our teaching is current and relevant, giving students the best possible chance to fulfil their career ambitions in an industry crying out for skilled workers.”
The college is very grateful to Paul and Simon and the kitchen brigade for looking after the students so well and offering them this outstanding experience.