The Manchester College Virtual Hospitality Taster Day was a Great Success!

Virtual Hospitality

Almost one thousand future students participated in The Manchester College’s first ever Couch to College event. The Hospitality and Catering session was hosted by the Hospitality and Catering teaching team, Masterchef Winner and Chefs’ Forum Academy Patron, Simon Wood and Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum.

Catherine Farinha interviewed Simon at his restaurant, Wood Restaurant, Manchester, in a Microsoft Teams Live event, asking him what he thinks it takes to be successful in the hospitality industry. He offered hints and advice on what young chefs and hospitality professionals should be doing to maximise on their training.

Simon recommended books to read and communicated to the students that they must never stop learning, fondly recounting foodie stories of his childhood and chefs who he admires.

Catherine was delighted to host the session with Simon at his restaurant, she said
“It is great to be able to find a way of continuing to raise the profile of The Manchester College and The Chefs’ Forum Academy while restrictions remain in place. It is crucial that we do all we can to drive registrations at the college for the coming academic year. We very much look forward to welcoming chefs back into the college again once permitted and will continue to support the college virtually in the interim. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Academy chefs for their ongoing help and support.”

Last month, the college hosted 37 online sessions to help new students transition from school to college by meeting their Tutors, tour college campuses and explore the wide range of courses and qualifications available to them.

Watch the full session here:

Mark Cooper, Course Lead for Technical Patisserie was very instrumental in organising and hosting the event from a college perspective, he said
“This event was important for all, to give a great insight into what students can learn at college and the specialist chefs they will meet on the course – Simon Wood being one of them. They will also have the opportunity to participate in competitions and assist with the organisation of local and regional events. The virtual taster day gave a full-rounded experience of what students can expect when enrolling onto a course at our college – It was a great success for all involved and a format that we will repeat again. I would like to personally thank Simon Wood and Oliver Harvey for supplying and donating great prizes for our chefs quiz, which added a further element of interest for the participants.”

The first week of events, kicked-off by Principal Lisa O’Loughlin on Monday 6 July, introduced students to the college’s brand new Industry Excellence Academy and Centres of Excellence, as well as the Careers and Welfare, and Transition teams.

Students were also advised on how to make an application and how to enrol, while Deputy Principal Rachel Curry explained how they’ll be keeping colleagues and students safe on campus when they return in September.

Week two was all about individual curriculum areas. Students met their new Tutors and were given a taster session of their chosen subject areas. They also heard more about our array of industry partners, finding out how they shape the curriculum, offer work experience opportunities and help prepare students for industry.

Masterchef UK winner and patron of The Chefs’ Forum Academy, Simon Wood, hosted the Hospitality and Catering event. Simon said:
“This was such an important virtual event to promote the hospitality industry to the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals in these strange times when we can’t hold traditional open days due to COVID-19. As patron of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at The Manchester College, it was a pleasure to take part in the Couch to College session and talk about my career as a chef, winning MasterChef and giving advice to those considering becoming a chef or front of house professional. Both aspects create the dining experience and I feel the session communicated this very well indeed.”

The third and final week of Couch to College focused on the student experience, with sessions on how to enrol, becoming work ready and our fantastic Duke of Edinburgh opportunities.

Students also met our experienced Employability team, who provided top tips on using social media to find a career that suits them and boost their prospects.

Deputy Principal, Rachel Curry, said:
“Thank you to everybody who has contributed to Couch to College and made it such a success. Our colleagues have worked tirelessly to deliver their presentations, showcasing all our subject areas and fantastic facilities, so it was great to see so many students take part. We hope you have got a feel for College life and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to College safely in September.”

The Manchester College is one of six UK colleges where The Chefs’ Forum operate The Chefs’ Forum Academy. The project sees top chefs and hospitality experts come into the college on a weekly basis to deliver guest lectures and practical cookery sessions to enrich the curriculum.