From education to employment

Student chefs hired by Michelin chef led restaurant

Three budding chefs from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) have proved that they have the recipe for success after being hired by a restaurant headed up by multi-Michelin-starred and 5-out-of-5 AA Rosette-winning celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

Catering apprentices 18-year-old Adam Jones from Dunmurry, 21-year-old Conor McGrogan from Randalstown and 19-year-old Rachel Carson from Crumlin, were offered work at Novelli’s at City Quay, the 120-seater restaurant in the new AC Hotel Belfast, by Executive Head Chef Jim Mulholland.

The talented trio were offered the jobs whilst completing their apprenticeship in catering course in the Novelli kitchen, after impressing Executive Head Chef Jim Mulholland with their culinary skills and will work at the restaurant alongside completing their studies.

Stand out student-chef Rachel Carson, who is chef de partie, has already proved herself as a rising star in the industry having been named Outstanding Apprentice of the year at the 23rd Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism which took place at a glittering event held at Titanic Belfast earlier this month. She was also named Student Culinarian of the Year at IFEX, earlier in the year.

Rachel, a former St Patricks High School pupil, said “I am loving every minute of working at the restaurant. I would never have had this incredible opportunity if it wasn’t for my time at SERC. It’s all down to everything I have been taught by my tutor Ruth Doherty. SERC has given me the skills and knowledge I need to work in such an exciting and fast paced industry.”

Jim Mulholland said “To be able to secure work alongside a Michelin-star chef is something all the apprentices should be extremely proud of. We have worked with SERC for over a decade to help train the next generation of chefs. The industry is thriving and having trained, knowledgeable staff is vital.”

Applications are still open for courses starting in September. 

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