Catherine Smith has secured a role at the prestigious Ritz London Hotel after passing her Level 2 in Professional Cookery with distinction.
As part of her studies the 28-year-old scooped two gold medals in the North East Catering Trade Awards and won a competition to develop a taste bud-tempting dish that was served up in the Ramada Encore Newcastle-Gateshead Hotel.
Catherine, who was recently named Gateshead College Student of the Year, said the course had provided the ideal platform for a career at one of the world’s most renowned luxury hotel groups.
She said: “I’m so glad that I followed my passion for catering as it has led to this fantastic opportunity.
“I enjoyed the course immensely and it has given me the knowledge and experience to start a career in something I love to do.”
Catherine is just one of the college’s catering success stories, with several other students going on to secure employment in the region.
Megan Mann and Pan Phyu Phyu Hmwe have taken up roles as commis chefs at Terry Laybourne’s 21 Hospitality Group of restaurants, while Tendai Magidi has joined the same company as patisserie chef.
Seaham Hall has appointed Callum MacGreggor and Chris Finnigan as commis chef and chef de partie patisserie respectively, while James Charlton is now commis chef at Louis’ Restaurant in Jesmond.
Commis chef Ben Lightlay has joined Close House Hotel and Golf Club in Newcastle and Marc Kouablan has been offered a permanent contract by his employer, Newcastle catering firm LoveFood.
Marc, 26, was also named Gateshead College Apprentice of the Year after completing an advanced apprenticeship in professional cookery.
He said: “My apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to gain a job and get my life back on track.
“When I first joined LoveFood I didn’t even have a home, let alone any catering qualifications. Now after studying at the college I’ve got a good job and a home and I’m proud of everything I have achieved.”
Joanne Rogan, lead practitioner in catering at Gateshead College, expressed delight at the high standards achieved by the students.
She said: “It’s an endorsement of the quality of our courses that most of our catering students have found employment within the industry. Congratulations must go to the students and I’m sure they have the talent to be successful in their chosen careers.”
Visit www.gateshead.ac.uk for information on courses.