Top chefs select the best at NWRC

Top chefs select the best at NWRC

Pictured at the recent Selection Day in NWRC are (back) Patsy McHugh, a health & safety officer; Ian Orr, Brown’s Restaurant; Brian McDermott, lecturer; Paul Sharkey, City Hotel; Leyonia Davey, curriculum manager; Christine McLaughlin, catering manager. (back) John Crowe, lecturer; Sean Harrigan, Sooty Olive and John Bamford, Brunswick Moviebowl.


The men and women responsible for putting the north-west on the culinary map attended an innovative event at NWRC recently to assist them in choosing trainees to join their teams for the year ahead.  North West Regional College has launched this creative new way for students to secure vital work placements within the hospitality sector.  Each year, students on the college’s Level 3 programme in hospitality and catering are required to work one day a week in industry.

During a speed interview, each student had just two minutes to make their mark on the leading chefs from top eateries including Brown’s, The Belfray, The Sooty Olive, the City Hotel and the Brunswick.  Each student was required to explain why they would be an asset to the chef and their team and then the employers, including Ian Orr, Paul Sharkey and Sean Harrighan chose the trainee they would like to join their kitchen staff.

The event was developed following feedback at the college’s Chefs’ Forum which brought together key hospitality and catering representatives earlier in the year. The chefs agreed they would like an efficient way to evaluate whether a student is the right fit for their kitchen.

Curriculum manager, Leyonia Davey was delighted with the response. She told LCN:

“We are so grateful to all the local businesses who provide placements for our students, as it is a vital element of their training.  We were so pleased that key industry representatives took the time to engage with our students in the selection day as it provided them both with a proper opportunity to evaluate their suitability for their establishments.  We look forward to building on this event in the future and wish all our students every success as they begin their industry placements.”

For restaurants and catering providers a placement is an opportunity to play a role in developing the confidence and skills of the next generation of chefs and to influence their training.  The college receives great support from the local industry. Ian Orr from Brown’s found the event very beneficial:

“Brilliant, brilliant exercise!  I would have no hesitation in offering a placement to all of the students who presented themselves today,” he commented.

Ian’s view was echoed by the City Hotel’s chef Paul Sharkey:

“This has been an excellent collaboration between industry and education.”

And Sean Harrighan from The Sooty Olive also commented:

“The Chef’s Forum has been an invaluable platform to progress the standards in the hospitality industry in the north-west.”