Hotel chef Claire Wilkins has returned to where her career started to share her expertise with the industry’s next generation.
The 21-year-old visited City of Bath College to inspire catering and hospitality students to “follow their dreams all the way to the top.”
Claire is demi chef de partie in the busy kitchen at Bath Priory Hotel just two years after leaving College.
She said: “It’s great to come back to where I studied. I feel it is important to teach young people what I know even though I am still learning myself.
“After all, these students could be my employees in the future. We could be working side-by-side in the industry in five years time.”
Claire’s visit was part of Masterclass Week, which saw a selection of industry chefs serving up lessons to give students first-hand experience of the world of work.
In the very kitchen where Claire had lessons herself, she showed students how to make pan-fried seabass with honey-roasted parsnip and ginger.
She also told the students about the reality of working long hour and under pressure as a chef.
Claire said: “I’m incredibly lucky to be where I am now at the age of 21.
“I just want to be a positive role-model, to share what I know and to inspire others.
“I want students to understand the benefits of working hard. My advice to them would be to listen to everything they are told and embrace it
“You think you know so much when you are at College but it’s not until you start working that everything comes together and the hard work really begins. It’s not an easy job, but it is so rewarding.”
Student Sam Chislett, 16, who is studying Level 1 Catering and Hospitality Professional Chef Diploma VRQ, said: “It’s been really good to listen to and watch Claire.
“I’ve learnt a lot from her and it’s good to hear about what I can go on to do after College.
“It’s my ambition to be a head chef in about 10 years and now I’m even more determined to work for it.”
Other industry experts giving masterclasses included Gary Rosser from The Scallop Shell fishmonger and Chris Emery, who is senior chef de partie at Cliveden House.
The aim of Masterclass Week, which sees the normal timetable suspended, is to promote employability skills and to strengthen links with industry partners.