Ryan’s appetite to learn everything he can about catering is insatiable. He’s been working his apprenticeship in the college’s training facility, a bistro called STIR, where he’s pushed to do better and better. “Just what I wanted” said Ryan, “I get one-on-one training, training on the go. Staff take me through each stage, skill or dish so I can practice before doing it for real in the restaurant. That’s when I’m assessed, not before.
“I love the variety. You don’t have the same menu all the time so you need lots of skills – like chopping onions and carrots in double-quick time or filleting a fish. And it’s not just cooking, I experience all aspects of customer service here too. It makes me feel more developed, not only as a cook, but on a personal level, not least because I get feedback, good and bad, from customers. That’s how I know where to improve. My apprenticeship builds me as a person, not just as someone proficient in kitchen skills.”
Apprentice - STIR
Ryan’s tutor and STIR employer, Keith Batten, said Ryan had become his “go-to apprentice.” He praised Ryan’s drive to learn and his positive approach. “In fact, I use him as an example for other students. He shows real understanding of the need for self-development and exhibits total dedication to learning. He works extra hours without being asked, practices dishes he’s learned at home and works hard to retain his skills. Ryan’s attitude to coursework is just the same – practice and involvement, the more the better.”
Keith continues, “I wish all the apprentices were like Ryan. He sucks up all you teach. Being young, he has ups and downs, but never makes the same mistake twice. Nothing is too much trouble for Ryan, he’s always keen to help everybody. His big personality earns him great feedback from staff, students and STIR customers alike. It’s clear Ryan understands the need to be customer-driven and how important that is to the industry. Without doubt, the Bistro’s success owes a lot to Ryan.”
Despite, or maybe because of, having a tough start in life Ryan has a burning ambition to do well. He turns up at 7am and works non-stop until 5pm. After that he does his studying, then goes home and practices. “I’ve been able to learn all the skills I need to work in a professional restaurant,” said Ryan. “After college I’ll probably work my way up in the restaurant sector. I love working with fresh produce so perhaps I’ll follow great chefs like Marcus Wareing and Michael Caines. Maybe I’ll open my own restaurant focused on fresh, local meat and produce.”
“I think he’ll go far” said Keith. “He has a burning desire to do well and works very hard here.” With the help and guidance he’s had from college, Ryan’s outstanding progress has earned him this coveted nomination. The award would surely be the icing on Ryan’s hard-won cake.