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Cracking time had at Virtual Cook Along

The Grand Brighton Executive Chef leads virtual cook along for special needs students

Following on from the success of their virtual careers week, students at Woodlands Meed College in Burgess Hill have been cooking up a storm with the help of Executive Chef Alan White of The Grand Brighton. As well as the virtual cook along under Alan’s direction the students also learned about working in hotel kitchens and the hotel industry.

Andi Hirons, People Director at The Grand Brighton gave the students an overview about the different opportunities available at The Grand Brighton and in hospitality in general and Alan White explained the personal attributes they look for in the kitchen staff.

Both Andi and Alan have worked at The Grand Hotel for 15 years and were able to give the students a very clear insight in to the working life of a hotel and the passion they felt for the hotel and the industry.

During the cook along Alan demonstrated and supported the students to make a delicious Eggs Benedict, sharing chef’s tips of the trade with his delighted audience. Alan was able to see online what the students had produced and was most impressed by their effort and enthusiasm.  He gave feedback on how some of the plates could be improved and tips for next time.

Executive Chef Alan White said after the event “It was an absolute pleasure to work with such passionate, focused and exciting students from Woodlands Meed College… the energy on the TEAMS session was amazing, they did a brilliant job preparing the classic “Eggs Benedict”. I was very proud to be part of the session, thank you!  Keep it cooking guys…”

Andi Hirons, People Director added “What a fabulous session! Key to our success at The Grand is working in the local community providing opportunities and access to careers for adults who may perceive these to be out of reach. We strive to provide innovative work experience offerings to inspire young students from diverse backgrounds, into a career in hospitality. Our “Taste of Hospitality” hands-on sessions play a key role in showcasing the skills required outside of an academic background. These events often lead to meaningful work experience placements, prior to securing paid employment with us.  We are keen to develop partnerships with colleges and schools to ensure that students with learning disabilities know they are valued in the workplace, and can reach their full potential.”

Adam Rowland, Head teacher at Woodlands Meed commented ‘Meaningful encounters with workplaces like The Grand Hotel Brighton give our students the opportunity to see different careers and workplaces that might interest them in the future.  Being able to do a virtual cook along with Alan and hear from Andi about working life in a hotel was really appreciated by the students and staff who took part, thank you to Andi and Alan in making this such a positive experience for our students.’

The students were buzzing with enthusiasm after the session, when asked what they enjoyed about the experience the feedback was very positive.  ‘I really enjoyed learning about what jobs they do at the hotel.’, ‘The cooking and the eating!’, ‘I really liked the chef he gave good information’ were just some of the comments.  ‘How to cook Eggs Benedict’, ‘How to cook portions’ and ‘How to cook safely’ were mentioned when asked what they felt they learnt.

This event is part of Woodlands Meed focus on supporting young people on their journey to employment and offer a broad range of ideas and success stories of those with SEND.