For a young chef there can be no greater ambition than to work in a Michelin star kitchen – under one of the country’s leading innovators in fine dining.
For one young graduate from North West Regional College that dream is about to come true. Oliver Molloy recently completed a placement at the luxurious 5 star Devon country house Gidleigh Park, organised by his former lecturers at North West Regional College.
Oliver eagerly took the opportunity to learn all he could from Gidleigh Park’s two Michelin Star staff including renowned chef Michael Caines MBE during the 10 day placement. The 21 year old, who completed the Professional Chefs Diploma in June at NWRC, was in awe of the artistic and intricate dishes being created by Michael and his team in the restaurant, which was voted the UK’s number one restaurant by Harden’s Sunday Times Food List 2014.
“Day one was just so nerve wracking. I spent the day on a tour of the facilities and shown to my quarters. It was in a different league. I then spent some time shadowing the chefs and watching how they go about their business. Everything is done with such precision and meticulously monitored by the staff.”
Over the course of the placement Oliver studied carefully how precisely each dish was created, and soon started to enjoy what he thought was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. What Oliver didn’t realise was that he was about to receive the career break thousands of young chefs could only imagine the offer of a permanent post at Gidleigh Park.
“I was totally shocked when I got the job offer on my last day. I just jumped at the chance and I’m over the moon.”
Oliver will be moving from working in Connor’s Bar, Ballycastle to a 2 Michelin Star establishment, less than six months after completing his course at the College – an achievement few could even dream of, let alone make a reality.
“To be moving from a small bar in my home town of Ballycastle to the number one restaurant in England is amazing. I just can’t wait to get there and get stuck in,” added Oliver.
The lecturing staff within Hospitality ad Catering at NWRC have developed excellent relationships with some of the UK & Ireland’s leading hotels and restaurants in recent years including Raymond Blanc, Neven Maguire and Ian Orr.
Lecturer Douglas Walker, who selected Oliver for the placement, said: “Oliver was my automatic choice as I knew he had the talent and commitment to operate at the level required. He has always shown that he has what it takes to become a top class chef; he was the top achiever on his Level 3 course and his work ethic is second to none.
“His success at Gidleigh Park and job offer really is testament to the young man, but also to the work being done here in the College. We have a fantastic team working with the students training them to the highest standard, and this just goes to prove that NWRC is the place to prepare for a career in the Hospitality Industry.”
In addition to Oliver’s successful transition to such a prestigious employer, another former student, Michael Clarke, is currently on a 3 month paid placement working under head chef Ben de Vijver in the Ulysses Restaurant at the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, Belgium. This is a unique opportunity for the 21 year old chef to gain an insight into European culinary skills, and to experience working within a fine dining restaurant specialising in classic cuisine with contemporary influences.