A FOOD academy launched by one of the UK’s top chefs is stirring up interest in the hospitality industry.
Bryn Williams is giving young people the opportunity to train for a career in the sector – where there is huge demand for skilled workers – at his Porth Eirias restaurant in Colwyn Bay.
In partnership with Coleg Cambria, he will choose students every year to combine a Hospitality and Catering qualification with hands-on experience at the venue, which in past weeks retained its Bib Gourmand from the prestigious Michelin Guide and was named AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales.
Callum Jones, from Hawarden, is the first learner to join the Academy via Cambria and is already enjoying the new role.
Another to have benefited from Bryn’s knowledge and expertise is Scott Cleverley, from Colwyn Bay, who was working part-time at Porth Eirias before he was encouraged to enrol at the Deeside college and achieve a Level 2 qualification.
He did so, and now progresses onto Level 3, as well as a full-time position at the restaurant.
Bryn, from Denbigh, is delighted with progress and says his vision to help train the next generation of chefs and hospitality staff is becoming a reality.
“I’ve always said, I can teach anyone to cook but I can’t teach a good attitude and passion for the industry, which is what Scott has in abundance,” he said.
“He started working here as a commis chef and showed all the ability and desire you need to go further, so I’m delighted he has achieved the qualification at Cambria – because that is very important – and is now a permanent member of the team.”
Bryn added: “The kitchen can be an intense working environment, especially when balanced with an education, but Scott’s managed it brilliantly.
“It starts with the Academy, but the world is his oyster. We are not just here for 12 months and then waving goodbye to the students, we will always be here for them and want to create a legacy and alumni of learners who will support each other for many years to come.”
The eldest of five brothers, Scott is a former pupil at Ysgol Bryn Elian, Old Colwyn.
Along with his mum and dad, he says his siblings are the biggest supporters of his cooking career, and biggest food critics!
“I am fortunate to have such amazing support, and for my family to back me all the way,” said Scott.
“I always liked cooking and baking at home and have loved working at Porth Eirias, but the Academy has taken that to another level as it’s made me even more sure where my future lies.
“I would like to thank Bryn and Coleg Cambria because this is an amazing opportunity, one I am relishing.”
Bryn shot to fame in 2006, when he took on and beat the best chefs in the country to cook the fish course for the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations on the hit BBC programme, Great British Menu.
Having trained under some of the world’s greatest chefs – including Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux – he understands the value of mentoring and experience, and believes being part of an award-winning and positive workforce which has achieved so much in a short space of time will give Scott firm foundations on which to launch his career.
“To win AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales in just our fourth year is incredible, and to retain the Bib Gourmand,” said Bryn.
“That’s the benchmark now for everyone here, to maintain that standard is the toughest thing of all.
“Scott is a part of that success and he deserves it. He’s got to set the example now, he’s the one all Academy members will look to.
“I’m so proud of him, we showed him the door and he broke through it, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and is a great role model for teenagers everywhere.”
Andy Woods, Deputy Director of Hospitality and Tourism at Coleg Cambria, added: “To see Scott progress is fantastic. He will always be the first person to have come through the Academy and hopefully he will help many other learners along the way.
“This opportunity has given him the foundations to have a really successful career in the industry.”
For more on the partnership between Bryn Williams and Coleg Cambria, visit the website: www.cambria.ac.uk/bryn-williams-academy