AN academy created by esteemed chef Bryn Williams and Coleg Cambria has unveiled its first student.
Callum Jones, from Hawarden, has joined the prestigious Bryn Williams Academy.
The 17-year-old, formerly a pupil at Connah’s Quay High School, is passionate about following in his Dad’s footsteps and becoming a trained chef.
He will now study a Level 2 in Catering and Hospitality while gaining valuable experience with Bryn and the at his Porth Eirias restaurant in Colwyn Bay – crowned AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales – and Odette’s in Primrose Hill, London.
Callum, who like Bryn grew up in Denbigh, plans to grab the opportunity with both hands.
“All I ever wanted to do was become a trained chef like my Dad, I just loved cooking and being around him in the kitchen,” said Callum.
“He never had the chances I’ve been given, so I’m doing this for him and would like to thank Bryn and everyone at the college for their support.”
Callum says the backing of his parents and two younger brothers gave him the confidence he needed to apply for the scheme.
“My Mum and Dad are brilliant and have always encouraged me to follow this path; my brothers are also fully behind me, though when it comes to food, they’re my biggest critics!” said Callum.
“To go from preparing meals at home to working at Porth Eirias and studying at Cambria is a big step, but I am looking forward to it.”
He added: “When I sat down with Bryn and spoke to him about being part of the Academy, he was very inspirational and expressed what an opportunity this is.
“I am fortunate and grateful to be the first Coleg Cambria student to take part, it’s a huge privilege and a stepping-stone to my future in catering.”
Bryn shot to fame in 2006, when he took on and beat the best chefs in the country to cook the fish course for the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations on the hit BBC programme, Great British Menu.
He has gone on to appear regularly on TV and released acclaimed cookbooks Bryn's Kitchen, For The Love Of Veg, and Tir a Mor, having trained under some of the world's greatest chefs - including Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux.
“We are showing there can be a progression from school to college to the food and drink industry,” said Bryn.
“I’ve always said, whoever joins the Academy will be part of it for a year, but they’ll have me and the team for the rest of their life.
“Through my restaurants and contacts, they will go on to be a success if they work hard and show how much they want it.”
He added: “That’s what is key for Callum, we want him to get the best out of it. He’s not there to make up the numbers, which is the case with a lot of work placements.
“I can’t teach attitude and discipline, but I can teach everything else. Callum has both and that’s why he’s here, and I can work with that, he has a lot of potential.
“We are going back to basics, instilling old school values. When he leaves, he will have skills, education, knowledge and the world will be his oyster.”
Andy Woods, Cambria’s Deputy Director for Hospitality and Catering, said interest in the Academy is growing as the partnership with Bryn goes from strength to strength.
“There is huge demand for talented young workers in this sector, and by joining forces with Bryn we have demonstrated there is a viable career path,” said Andy.
“We have a vision to create a family of alumni, so in 10 years’ time people like Callum can come back and speak to the students about his experiences and give them advice.
“We are planning for the long-term, not just for the college and the Academy, but for the future of the industry.”