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It gives me great pride to be writing the foreword for this year’s Restaurant Brochure. After 18 years working at the College, I was honoured to become the Head of the School of Hospitality & Management, and I strive to continue the high standards set by my predecessor Robert Marshall-Slater.

As most of you will know, I am more used to being behind the stoves in the Restaurant, trying to inspire the next generation of Hospitality students alongside my colleagues Graeme Hedley & Yannick Lequitte.

We believe our style of food is current, modern and relevant, enabling our students to use all the new techniques and technologies to enhance the flavours of our ingredients. Provenance plays an integral part in our excellent delivery, and we source from Cumbria, Morecambe Bay and North Lancashire, giving our students and customers a broad range of quality ingredients to enjoy. The students are progressively allowed to influence the menus as they go through each stage of their training, preparing them to develop their style and culinary identity in the future.

Our motto is “learning is the main ingredient”, and we look to instil this into our fantastic students. Amongst the many highlights for our students last year was the once in a lifetime opportunity for two of them to spend three weeks in Atlanta, USA, which was very generously funded by the Bob McGhie Trust. On the trip, they completed work experience at the prestigious Hilton Hotel, as well as visiting numerous restaurants and studying at the local college. The Culinary Team visited Madrid this year, where all of them had their first meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, amongst other culinary experiences. By the time you read this, we would have also visited Bologna to savour the tastes and smells of local cuisine, including the famous parmesan cheeses & aged balsamic vinegar.

Our success in the National Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition reached new heights this year, where Albert & Sebastian not only won the title but also won all 3 courses. What makes this achievement extra special is this year’s head judge was none other than two Michelin-starred Daniel Clifford of Midsummer House in Cambridge, and he was full of praise for the techniques and execution demonstrated by our students. My congratulations to both the students and the hard work & dedication of Yannick.

The college had the privilege of hosting the glamorous social event that is the Cumbria Life Food and Drink Awards again this year. The quality and high standards of the food and service were roundly praised by all the attending industry experts and awards winners on the evening. I’d like to thank the students who worked their socks off for two solid days, and I’d like to make a special mention of Graeme Hedley & Paul Waring for their seamless running of the front-of-house on the night.

Finally, I would like to thank Robert Marshall-Slater for all the hard work, drive & vision during his 7 years as head of our department. Robert has taken up a new role as a Director of Newton Rigg College, and I would like to wish him every success in the future.

We look forward to continuing to welcome you all to the Restaurant. I sincerely hope you enjoy the cookery and service provided by the most essential part of everything we do, the students.

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Richard Axford