From education to employment

Learning the art of fine dining

Students from London South East Colleges’ flagship Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College have been plunged into the deep end this term, undertaking ten days of intensive work experience at some of the capital’s most distinguished restaurants and eateries.

In total, 43 students have been sent to work placements at over 30 reputable establishments including Harrods, Chop House (Butlers Wharf), Skylon (Embankment), Plateau (Canary Wharf), Bickley Manor Hotel, Cow and Pig (Orpington), Bromley Court Hotel and The British Queen Pub and Brasserie (Bromley).

  • One of our most prestigious partners offering students the opportunity to work at the very top-end of the hospitality business is Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows. This restaurant is situated on the 28th floor at London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.

First year hospitality catering students Gabriel Innaccone (16) and Joe Cheeseman (16) are making the most of an immense opportunity and taking full advantage of the exposure to some of the world’s top professionals.

Fred Sirieix is the General Manager at Galvin at Windows and the country’s most recognisable maître d’ because of his role on the hit Channel 4 show First Dates. Under his dynamic leadership, the restaurant has won a number of industry awards and has inspired many people to take up hospitality careers. His motto is ‘learn forever, enjoy life and make a difference’.

Both Gabriel and Joe have already learnt lots of new skills and techniques that will benefit their career and increase their chances of reaching the heights in a very competitive industry.

Gabriel Innaccone (16), from Brockley, aims to become a chef and has spent much of his youth working for his family’s Italian restaurant in south London. He says: “So far, I have learnt to do some of the simplest things really well. I’m amazed at the incredibly high standards here and the emphasis on quality. The clientele at this restaurant expect the best.

“Because of this, I expected the kitchen environment to be frantic and stressful. It’s actually the complete opposite. It is relatively quiet, calm and very well organised. Each order is treated as an operation and all members of the staff understand their roles in the execution of delivering the perfect meal and highest standard of service.”

Joe Cheeseman (16), from Bromley, is also an aspiring chef and sees this placement as his big break. He says: “I’m experiencing the workings of a very high-end and sophisticated business. The chefs here show us how to do certain things correctly and will then watch us do them ourselves; correcting us if we go wrong. After this, we are expected to get it right – surprisingly, this works really well.”

Sous Chef, Ben Hobson has provided supervision for both students and enabled them to experience a range of specialisms within the kitchen and restaurant. He has been suitably impressed with their commitment, eagerness and willingness to learn. He says: “As a product of a vocational education and training myself, I know just how an opportunity like this can be the basis of a very lucrative and rewarding career. This line of work relies so much on your attitude, as well as having an eye for quality and detail. It means working very hard and be willing to listen, observe and learn. It also requires lots of determination.”

Career College Director, Gary Farrelly is delighted with the progress all of our students have made this week. Feeding back to staff and students on the success of the work experience programme, he said: “Students will return to the College next week with a much bigger picture of what their training can lead to. It gives them an insight of what is expected of them when they start work and of the many different roles available in the industry.”

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