As I’ve mentioned many times in previous posts (including My decision to move to UCB and The 10 differences between college and school) there are many reasons to choose to come to UCB to train to be a chef. A few of these reasons include the incredible facilities, prestigious reputation and word class chef lecturers however, there was one other element that cemented my decision… Opportunities!
Opportunities at UCB come in many ways and forms. For example, for me, this blog is an opportunity. Yes, I had to apply to be one of the UCBloggers. I never imagined doing something like this as a job, but it is an opportunity UCB has afforded me. Some opportunities like this are great CV enhancers (go speak to hired for CV help) which in the future could demonstrate desirable traits to future employers.
Jobs are a big aspect of the perks of being at UCB. Firstly, there is hired@UCB (located on the 7th floor and accessible through the portal) that can assist you in finding a job which is a very well organised and helpful facility for students. The hired@UCB team can help you find placements within your course, a part time job while in college or with applications for a full time job after college. They can also assist with CVs and UCAS applications (for FE students).
Competitions are a major part of my course. There are competitions that you are chosen for and those you can apply for.
“With more than half the team made up of UCB students and alumni, this year’s National English Junior Team of brilliant young chefs has begun training for the world’s top competition.”
This is a statement from an article about UCB’s involvement with the English junior team of Chef’s in the Culinary world cup! UCB College of Food lecturers Mathew Shropshall and Richard Taylor are leading a team of talented young chefs including chefs from world-famous establishments including The Ritz Hotel, London, The Park Restaurant, York, The Manor, Wiltshire, The Westbury, London and Warwick Castle. These are the sorts of opportunities that UCB can grant as I progress. I have also had many during my time at UCB including cooking for events such as The Chef’s Forum, alongside Michelin star chefs and the Roux Scholarship Winner (Harry Guy), as well as catering the UCB governors’ lunch!
Chef’s forum and Governors Lunch
Talks at UCB normally come in the form of Activity Week, which acts as our half term. During this year’s October half term, I attended a variety of seminars and demonstrations concerning the industry which were all very valuable and eye opening to the food industry as a whole.
This included a very real and concerning talk about drug and substance abuse from Hospitality Action (The Hospitality Action helpline is open 24/7 and is this number if you are suffering from any form of addiction whilst in the industry 0808 802 0282) during this talk, a former drug user told his personal and quite bleak story of loss and addiction in a tough and unrelenting industry. I think it was safe to say everyone was pretty much gobsmacked after the seminar and I hope it got a few people thinking.
I also attended a masterclass with two very talented chefs from the Ritz, London. The lobster dish was incredible, but for me, I the highligh was getting an insight into the London hospitality industry and the things it can offer. Alongside the Ritz, sous chef, former UCB student Nathan Lane talked to us about his career and how he’s rising so fast at such a young age.
The last activity I attended was a demonstration from Mark Morrans, Chef at Senor Ceviche, London on Peruvian food, culture and ingredients. This was highly interesting as it showed a completely different side to the industry as whole and the incredible produce that comes from around the world. Within this demonstration there was an opportunity to try food I had never experienced as well as learn about the culture of Peru. Accompanying this activity week event was the opportunity to apply for a competition in Peruvian cuisine!
While being at UCB I was able to attend an event at the NEC, the Great Hospitality Show last year to assist with competitions as well as watch trainees and professionals compete! This was one of the best memories I’ve made so far at UCB. I was able to watch very interesting competitions with extremely high skill (I was able to watch my friend Angelina Adamo of the Park Restaurant, York who at the time was doing her NVQ Level 3 at UCB, compete in a pastry competition). I also walked round all the stalls and stands talking to different businesses and vendors which was extremely interesting, and met Matt Healy the MasterChef: The Professionals runner up (featured in the main image). Throughout the day a small group of us assisted the judges. Although the day did involve some elbow grease, including cleaning up backstage, it was an amazing day and experience.
The Great Hospitality Show
Travel is a huge part of what attracts students to UCB! The opportunities for overseas travel are vast, but very competitive. Within my Professional Cookery course there are overseas placement opportunities all students compete for through a tough interview process. As of yet, I have not travelled abroad with UCB, but with some hard work I’m hoping to change that over the coming months.
UCB is a great place to come if you want to make something of yourself and reach the top of the industry your training in. There are so many UCB alumni leading their field at the moment. This includes Michelin starred Carters of Mosley owner Brad Cater who trained at UCB himself alongside his Sous chef and a number of other chefs who are alumni or students of UCB. Achievements also include a number of chef lecturers being former UCB students themselves which means they’ve gone through the programme your about to go through and can see it from both sides.
The next college open days are on Saturday 25 November, 11am – 3pm and Saturday 20 January, 11am – 3pm so please got to the UCB website to book your place!