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Chef Charlie’s cooking up success!

Posted onPosted on 16th Apr

A trainee chef at West Nottinghamshire College has enjoyed a week of learning new skills at a Derbyshire-based, three-rosette restaurant – and secured a new job.

Charlie Harris, 17, a student on the Level 3 in Professional Cookery programme, decided that he wanted to do something different during a college holiday, so he contacted Mark Ainsthorpe, head chef at The Bull’s Head in Holymoorside.

Charlie said: “I’d seen Mark’s work before on the BBC’s Great British Menu when he reached the regional finals. I’ve been watching his cookery and admired what he was doing, so I thought I had nothing to lose by contacting the restaurant to see if I could take some time out to learn more from their chefs.”

And Charlie was successful in gaining a week’s experience at the restaurant, where he spent full shifts learning more about the food cooked there. During this experience, known as a stage (pronounced stahj), Charlie discovered more about baking pastries with the pastry chef, Joel Stubbs, who also guided him through the restaurant’s bread and sour dough recipes.

He has since been offered a job there.

Charlie said: “I really enjoyed my time at The Bull’s Head and even though I was nervous at first working in another kitchen, I found my feet and gained a lot of confidence throughout the week and I left feeling as though I wanted to go back. Mark really inspired me even more after seeing his work in person.”

Charlie’s chef tutor, Mark Jones, said: “Charlie is a determined young man who’s shown commitment and passion towards his studies and wanting to develop his skills as a chef. The stage was a very beneficial step for him as working at The Bull’s Head will give him a better idea of how higher-level kitchens operate and it will develop his skills as a young chef, highlighting his career path for the future.

“Charlie came back excited from his experience and has since created a pre-dessert course on my Thursday evening tasting menu at Refined, which went down very well. I thank Mark for allowing Charlie to do the stage as it’s sometimes hard to get these links within industry so it’s one I’m hoping to use again in the future.

“Following Charlie’s stage, he has since been offered a job at The Bull’s Head, which is fantastic for progression after he completes his course. I’m proud of his achievements and this shows what you can do if you focus and work hard.”