Hospitality students from Cheshire College South and West took over the running of the Devonshire Fell Hotel in a ‘live’ work experience project. The event, which took place earlier this month, was tremendously successful for students, staff and guests alike.
Offering a valuable ‘on the job’ insight into the dynamic world of hospitality and bringing their catering theory and skills learning into practise, the students worked within their teams to deliver the smooth running of this Dales boutique hotel. They delivered a full 48 hours of hospitality to residential guests who were made aware in advance of the supporting role that they were playing.
All aspects of the hotel service, including reception and guest check in, the preparation of freshly cooked seasonal dishes, the serving of food and beverages, room service and housekeeping were in the hands of the students, overseen by hotel management who provided encouragement and guidance.
The students gained invaluable practical experience of the reality of working in and managing a hotel, to complement their classroom-based knowledge and college-based skills training, and they did an excellent job stepping up to the plate. The project was a success both for its educational aspect, as well as being enjoyable and inspirational for the residential guests too.
One guest, Linda Howard, said: “Please pass on our thanks and praise to the young people who did such a good job of welcoming us and making our stay so enjoyable. The quality of the food was excellent. The beef was cooked to perfection, and I am telling everyone about the woodland dessert with its mushrooms and very green grass. They can be very proud of their performance and I hope this serves as an example to others in the industry. It is good to see employers giving students such excellent work experience”.
The menu created by the students included dishes such as smoked salmon tartare roll, created by Nathan Price, beef fillet, created by Olivia James, braised celeriac by David Davies, and monkfish wrapped in bacon, by Finn Kinsella.
Delicious desserts included the themed, Dark Chocolate Forest, by Amanda Salters, with its apple gel creating an inspiring verdant décor, admired by diners for its presentation, and the rhubarb mousse & sherbet sable, vanilla panna cotta and sous vide rhubarb, created by Freja Dobson. Amy Phillips also created a blackberry chocolate delice dessert, which was also served at the National Chef of Wales event.
John Holden, Food and Beverage Lecturer at Cheshire Catering College, South and West, said: “I am exceptionally proud of the students and their aptitude under the pressure of the ‘live and interactive’ aspect. This has been an incredible opportunity for them to gain valuable insight into their chosen vocations, and will also help them to evaluate their path for further study and career choices.”
Richard Palmer, Managing Director of the Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, commented: “I applaud each and every student involved for their hard work, ability to work under pressure and to support one another as part of a team. Their planning and creativity in advance of the project was one thing, but to deliver at such a consistently high standard for the full two days to expectant guests can be quite another. John and I are delighted with how well everyone performed and I would certainly welcome any of their CVs in the future.
“There is much diversity and reward to be gained from working in the world of hospitality – certainly no two days are the same, and there are specific roles to suit most personalities, and with the right encouragement to each shine and take pride in their work. This was certainly evident at The Fell last week.”
The college takeover project is just one initiative that the Devonshire group have undertaken recently in order to raise the profile of the industry, and encourage individuals to follow their passion for hospitality, and to present the changing face of hospitality in a positive and encouraging light.
Another key initiative, now in its second year, is the ‘Devonshire Hospitality Academy’, offered to new starters across the Devonshire Group whether they are just starting out in the world of work, or even having a complete career change.
The ground-breaking investment in people provides a structured, educational programme to run alongside the first year of employment across the group’s many properties, which include hotels, inns and bolthole accommodation across Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Most markedly it guarantees a full-time role upon successful completion and is open to applicants of all ages and experience levels.