CHRISTMAS came early for Warrington & Vale Royal College’s hospitality and catering department after it received a prestigious AA College Rosette from People 1st.
Buckley’s restaurant, located at the college’s Warrington Campus, was visited during October by Andy Doyle, membership operations manager at People 1st and Ewan Davidson from AA Hotel Services, to see if it was worthy of the accreditation.
The hard work and dedication of staff and students paid off, with the restaurant receiving a Silver People 1st Award and a Gold Highly Commended AA College Rosette – the maximum that can be awarded to a college.
Andrew Macleod, Curriculum Manager for Hospitality & Catering and Travel & Tourism, said: “Receiving an AA College Rosette is an incredible achievement and something we as a department are extremely proud of. It really shows how much work we are putting in here at the college to ensure our learners are getting the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in industry.
“Buckley’s is not just a place for students to come and learn about hospitality and catering – it is a state-of-the-art commercial restaurant, one which they leave as qualified chefs and front-of house professionals.
“Receiving this award just shows all of the hard work, dedication and commitment the department has demonstrated to get us to this point – onwards and upwards for another great year!”
The AA College Rosette Scheme aims to recognise students – both front and back of house – who are the future of the hospitality industry. The college accreditation process, provided by People 1st, also recognises colleges offering exceptional hospitality training.
In his report, inspector Ewan Davidson described food at the restaurant as having “the wow factor” and said level 3 students showed good leadership and mentoring skills.
He added that the food style is “modern, uses contemporary techniques and investment in crockery etc has given everything a professional sheen”. Mr Davidson said that in industry, the meal he was served would have benchmarked easily at one Rosette, and would not have been out of place as a two Rosette.
The AA Rosette is the latest in a host of awards for Buckley’s, with the exceptional standard of teaching and training within the catering department previously awarded a prestigious Medal for Excellence from City & Guilds.
Poppy-Jay Nash, a former Winsford E-ACT Academy pupil, said: “I feel really proud to be a student here and to be a part of this department.”
Poppy, who travels to Warrington for the Level 2 Culinary Skills and Level 2 Professional Food & Beverage Service courses, added: “I absolutely love the course and everything about it. Last year, before the colleges merged, I did my first year of the course at the Winsford Campus but now I’m able to benefit from the industry-standard facilities that we have here at Warrington. I’m learning so much stuff that will be invaluable should I choose to make a career as a chef.”
The AA College Rosette is the icing on the cake for chef lecturer Scott Surtees, who vowed to help the college achieve the award when he joined three years ago.
Scott said: “We have worked incredibly hard to increase the reputation of the department and to make Warrington & Vale Royal College the go to place for hospitality and catering courses.
Receiving this accreditation just proves how far we push our students and that we are doing at the college, and what we are teaching these budding young chefs, is right.
“It was my five year plan to get an AA Rosette for Buckley’s and we’ve managed to do it in three! For us to receive this in the same year as winning a Medal for Excellence and taking home silver at the Welsh International Culinary Championships is just incredible.”
Photo caption: Hospitality and catering students Jasmine Wright, David Peterken, chef lecturer Scott Surtees, Poppy-Jay Nash and Nathan Hughes with the AA College Rosette.