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Michelin-star stage is recipe for success

Rob Stewart cooked up a storm at Martin Wishart’s Michelin-starred restaurant

The culinary expertise of Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart is being dished out to Sunderland College catering students.

Cutting-edge techniques and gastronomic tips will be taught at the college by curriculum leader Rob Stewart after he recently met and worked alongside the celebrated chef.

Martin welcomed Rob to his Michelin-starred Edinburgh restaurant for a two-day stage where he worked in the kitchen in a variety of roles – from prepping food to plating up dishes.

Rob worked as a professional chef in a number of North East restaurants including Café 21, Loch Fyne and The Living Room group, before joining Sunderland College in 2010.

He said: “Working with Martin and his team was a fantastic experience and it was excellent to be in a small kitchen witnessing Michelin-starred food being produced. It allowed me to see lots of processes which can be brought back into our curriculum at the college and will enhance our students’ skills.”

The stage was arranged by Rob after he visited the restaurant with his students last year and is part of his continued professional development training at the college.

Rob, who has also undertaken a stage at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental in London, added: “Taking part in stages at Michelin-starred restaurants really puts Sunderland College at the cutting-edge of food in this country and has a very positive impact on our students, many of whom aspire to work-in and own Michelin-starred restaurants.”

Martin said: “Bringing students into the kitchen is crucial for them to understand the reality of this profession. They have to realise the long hours, the pressure and the precision that is required to become a professional chef.”

Catering students at Sunderland College are encouraged to take part in a wide range of stages, and they also gain valuable work experience in the college’s very own restaurant, the Lounge Bar and Bistro, which helps to improve their skills and knowledge.

The Lounge Bar and Bistro will be relocating to the city centre when the college opens its new flagship City Campus.

Rob said: “It is very important for the students to experience the real-life pressures and challenges of working in this competitive and rewarding profession, and undertaking work experience is central to achieving this.

“As we plan for the move to the city centre, we will be revising out current menu and set-up, and we will be looking at what techniques can be brought into the production kitchen to make it even more cutting-edge.”

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