Published on January 27, 2022

We sat down with Emily Simkins, one of our Level 2 Professional Cookery students who is already making a big splash at North Hertfordshire College and in the catering industry. Emily only joined NHC in September 2021, but she has already taken part in a whole host of competitions and experiences and even won first prize in the Zest Quest Autumn Challenge!

Why did you choose Level 2 Professional Cookery at NHC?

“I chose this course because I love cooking and have a passion for food. The College is close to where I live and I heard good things about it. I looked into the course and I liked what I saw!”

How have the staff/services helped you since you started your course?

“The tutors have provided me with lots of opportunities for me to take part in, like cooking with different professional chefs and lots of competitions. The tutors are very kind and helpful, and the opportunities have been so helpful in shaping my course so far.”

“I’ve really enjoyed the competitions and the practicals, because I get to cook and do my own thing. I like trying out my own ideas and testing my skills. Also, doing competitions inspires me to do my best and be the best I can be.”

What extracurricular activities have you taken part in so far?

“Before starting on the course, I took part in Pub in the Park in St Albans with the Star Inn. The week after that, I took part in Pub in the Park again! I also did the British Student Culinary Championships, where I learnt how to cut cold chicken and filet raw fish.”

“There are a couple more, too! I took part in the Young Risotto Chef of the Week, and recently won the finals of the Zest Quest Asia Panasonic challenge. This helped me as most of the things I did in these events are on the curriculum, so I get bonus practice and get a head-start.”

“I enjoyed Zest Quest the most as I got to the final. Pub in the Park was also good, definitely a close second, however getting to the final in Zest Quest is nice!”

What would you say to someone thinking about studying here at NHC?

“Definitely do a catering course if you enjoy cooking! It gives you lots of opportunities, and it’s fun, you make friends and the staff are friendly. All the opportunities build experience and are things you can put on your CV. I get to work under pressure, just like in a real kitchen.”


Are you feeling inspired by what Emily has said? Find out more about our available Hospitality and Catering courses at North Hertfordshire College, and find who you want to be!