Cookery students at West Lothian College have been receiving tips from the pros while learning online during the current lockdown.

As students take part in their courses online from home, their lecturers have secured access to a wide range of guest speakers. They’ve been learning from professional chocolatiers and demonstrations from some of the best chefs in the industry.

Before the pandemic all students took part in work experience with around twenty different industry outlets. As this was not possible this year lecturers built on the relationships from those work experience placements and invited chefs along to speak and carry out demonstrations online.

Lecturer Paul Devonshire said: “It shows you how great social media can be. As soon as we started sharing online how our guest speakers were engaging with our students, others in the industry kept getting in touch to offer similar experiences. They’re really keen to help out and it’s great to see them investing in the next generation. We’ve had a really great response and people have shown how they’ve adapted to the pandemic.”

Guest speakers have included Stephen Crawford who is the Executive Head Chef at Six by Nico, Shona Sutherland who owns Perth-based company Taystful, the owner of Tantrum Doughnuts, Iain Baillie, Farzana Manzoor, owner of Sparkle Cake Academy, and Kieron Murphy, a whetstone sharpening expert.

Students can look forward to even more online masterclasses in the weeks ahead. When it is safe to do so, lecturers plan to invite the guest speakers to college’s award-winning Terrace Restaurant for a meal and show them what their talented students they can do.