From education to employment

Mr Cooper’s host themed night at Tameside College

Food studies students from Tameside College had the pleasure of working alongside well-renowned chef, Robert Taylor from the prestigious, ‘Mr Cooper’s House & Garden’ restaurant at the Midland Hotel to host an evening at the college’s Reflections restaurant.

On the night, guests of Tameside College’s Reflections restaurant had a choice of a number of dishes, including: crispy pig’s cheek, Loch Duart salmon and lamb rump with lamb jus. For dessert, they were treated to a kendal mint cake brownie with hot chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream.

Students had the opportunity to learn new preparation and cooking techniques with Robert, who is currently head chef at Mr Cooper’s House & Garden. He is highly respected in the food and hospitality industry with a background working in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Robert has had a long-time passion for cooking, crediting his mother’s excellent cooking and enjoyment of being a chef herself for his choice in career. After starting his career at aged 16, with an apprenticeship at the Buckland Manor in the Cotswolds, Robert went on to perfect his craft by working across the UK in luxury restaurants in the Lake District and Manchester.

Robert took on the position of head chef at Mr Cooper’s House & Garden just under a year ago and as part of his role designs menus based on the freshest, seasonal ingredients that are available locally, ensuring the best variety and quality of dishes year round. He now hopes to inspire young people who have dreams of becoming chefs through his work with Tameside College.

Robert said: “By coming into Tameside College to host an evening like this we are giving the students an insight into how we run Mr Cooper’s House & Garden and they can decide for themselves whether fine dining is an area of the industry they’d like to pursue after college. It’s a great experience for them as running a prestigious restaurant in the real world is very different from being at college but working alongside us gives them a better idea of what it’s really like.”

One of the college’s former food and hospitality supervision students who has found success as front of house supervisor with Mr Cooper’s House & Garden is Jordan Philburn, who was also a bronze medal winner at the UK World Skills finals in 2015.

Jordan from Stalybridge, said: “I’m really enjoying my time at Mr Cooper’s House & Garden. It’s a fantastic place to work as I am learning the art of perfecting food service. You are taught precision in your work to give diners the best fine dining experience, which is the best hands-on experience you get in this role. I get continual support from my employers and they seem to be happy with my work as I have recently been promoted to supervisor! In the future I’d like to expand my knowledge of the food and hospitality industry by travelling to different countries and experiencing food culture and fine dining techniques and traditions from around the world.”

John Holden, food and hospitality teacher at Tameside College, said: “We’re really pleased to host Mr Cooper’s House & Garden at Tameside College’s Reflections restaurant. It is a huge honour and a great opportunity for our students to have experience in the kitchen with such a prestigious and highly respected chef like Robert Taylor. They have learned a lot and I’m confident that the students will come out of this experience setting the bar even higher for themselves to achieve more than they thought they ever could. It will put them in good stead for when they go into industry and we’re thankful to Mr Cooper’s House & Garden for this opportunity.”

For more information on our food and hospitality courses, please call: 0161 908 6789 or click here.

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