What better way for North Hertfordshire College’s Catering students to gain valuable work experience and build their professional network than by working alongside esteemed chefs at events like Pub In The Park? The gastropub festival has become a staple in our Catering department’s calendar, with many of our students enjoying the opportunity to learn from some of the best talents in the UK’s hospitality and catering sector, and often leaving with offers of work experience or jobs!
Anthony Gascoigne, Catering tutor at North Hertfordshire College, notes the importance of these events for our students’ development, saying: “For me, Pub In The Park is a great way to round off Induction Week and set the bar. I know the students will do us proud every time.”
September 2022 was no different, with our students joining a host of experienced chefs at the St Albans edition of the Pub In The Park festival. Whereas the previous Pub In The Park events saw a small number of our students volunteering in the pop-up kitchens, this time around twelve students volunteered on Friday evening and nine more students cooked up a storm on Saturday.
Our student chefs brushed shoulders with UK catering industry royalty, including Tom Kerridge, Simon Rimmer, Si King (The Hairy Bikers), Atul Kochhar, and Candice Brown (The Great British Bake Off, 2018).
Volunteering at Pub In The Park certainly made a positive impact on our students – Danny Turner, who is studying towards his Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery, said: “It was a pleasure working in Atul Kochhar’s kitchen with his amazing team of people. They constantly kept me fed and refreshed and always checked on me to see if I was okay and enjoying it. I learnt from his team how to work in such a fast-paced environment, keep a cool head, and enjoy it all simultaneously. I’m looking forward to doing the next Pub In The Park because it’s always going to be a new experience and a chance to meet new people.”
Liv Lewis, one of NHC’s Level 2 Professional Cookery students, also enjoyed her experience. “It was so special to spend time working in The Hardwick and to work so closely with Stephen Terry and his team. Being able to openly ask them any questions was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I think that this experience will have benefitted me a lot for the future as it has changed my views on the industry… it has definitely reinforced the mindset of ‘you get out what you put in’.”
A representative from Brand Events, the event organisers, said: “A huge thank you to the students, who really were a huge asset to the restaurants, and also to Anthony and the other lecturers who supported the event. The feedback I received was 100% positive, and I could see that all the students were enjoying themselves and no doubt gaining valuable experience and great contacts from their involvement (I believe there were even job offers made!).”
Here’s to the next Pub In The Park!
If you’re interested in starting your own career in the Hospitality and Catering sector, make sure you check out North Hertfordshire College’s Hospitality and Catering courses!