An Alnwick chef who landed a promising job at a luxury hotel is helping budding Mary Berrys and Jamie Olivers to serve up a successful catering career.
Former Gateshead College student Catherine Smith secured the role of pastry commis chef at the prestigious Ritz London Hotel after passing her Level 2 in Professional Cookery with distinction.
Now the 29-year-old is acting as a mentor to pass on top culinary tips to the current crop of catering students.
Catherine, who was named Gateshead College Student of the Year in 2013, met patisserie students and gave them practical advice on how to make taste bud-tempting pastry dishes.
The students also had the opportunity to quiz her on preparation and cooking techniques, food hygiene, health and safety and the key attributes needed to wow prospective employers in the fast-paced hospitality and catering industry.
She said: “It’s amazing to be able to go back to college and help current students. I really value the opportunity to keep that link with the college which helped start my career and be able to give something back by becoming a mentor.
“If I can help just one person to get a job in these difficult economic times, it will have been worthwhile.
“The course gave me a great platform to launch my catering career at one of the world’s most renowned luxury hotels.
“It gave me the necessary skills that employers need and it can set other students on the path to long-term success, both professionally and personally.”
As part of her studies, Catherine scooped two gold medals in the North East Catering Trade Awards and won a competition to serve up a menu in the Ramada Encore Newcastle-Gateshead Hotel.
For further information on Gateshead College courses, visit www.gateshead.ac.uk or call 0191 4902246.