From education to employment

From Bath College to a job in a Michelin-starred restaurant – former student has a bright future ahead

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A young chef who started his career training at Bath College has secured a job at a top restaurant with two Michelin stars.

Ollie Dunn, 18, is working under Executive Head Chef Gary Jones at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire.

He met Mr Jones two years ago as a student at Bath College during the college’s annual Chef v Chef Competition.

The competition, organised by Bath College and Catering Services International, is judged by a panel of professional chefs.

Ollie was one of the finalists for the competition, and was offered work experience at Le Manoir – which kindled an ambition to work there in the future.
He finished studying at Bath College last year and worked at The Royal Crescent Hotel for six months before securing a job at Le Manoir.

Ollie said: “I love working at Le Manoir. It’s always busy and I love waking up knowing you’re going to learn something new.

“It’s quite a daunting kitchen to work in at first. There’s 40 chefs at Le Manoir so that’s the first thing you have to get used to – the size of it.

“You have to adapt to working with people who speak different languages. The best thing about cooking is getting to express myself, I’m quite artistic so I enjoy plating up.”

Ollie, who is working as a commis chef, completed a two-day trial at Le Manoir, working 9am to 10pm before he was offered the job.

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He was proud to help with the judging for this year’s Chef v Chef Competition alongside Mr Jones, just after finishing his three-month probation.

Ollie said: “Coming to Bath College definitely helped to set me up in my career. It’s had a massive impact on my life and I have made so many connections.

“My advice would be to listen to what your tutors are saying to you, take it on the chin and use it. Even if things go badly, keeping going because you’re learning and you’re progressing.

“Think about what you want in your career and don’t sit around waiting for something to happen. It depends on how much you want to learn and push yourself, but I’m quite ambitious.”

Executive Head Chef Gary Jones, who is supporting and mentoring Ollie, said: “Ollie epitomises what the Chef v Chef competition is about.

“It’s brave to stand up and put yourself forward to compete against your peers. It was clear to see Ollie wanted to improve his skills. He has made a concentrated effort to learn his craft in a great kitchen.

“We’re training the next generation of young chefs and in turn, UK restaurants are improving their standards. I’m very proud of Ollie, he has a great attitude to learning and development.

“He’s just passed his three-month probation and if he keeps going the way he’s going, he’ll become an exceptional young chef. It’s vitally important for young chefs to position themselves in the very best kitchens, and to hone and develop their craft for the future.

“I am always impressed by Steve Benison and the team at Bath College, who, year on year, provide this great opportunity to the students and chefs in Bath to shine. Long may it continue.”

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