Apprenticeship ‘the best decision’ chef Dan made
A determined Apprentice Chef from The Bay Tree Restaurant in Tewkesbury sees his apprenticeship with Gloucestershire College as “the best decision” he ever made, as it gave him the opportunity to push himself after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
23-year-old Dan Greig, a former Tewkesbury School pupil, was diagnosed with the illness in August 2012, underwent treatment and reached the maintenance stage in April 2013.
“I never really had any idea what I wanted to do with my life until I had this time to sit down and really think about things. When I saw the apprenticeship opportunity with Gloucestershire College, I decided to push myself to get fit and go back to work. It was the best decision I could have made; I’ve been at The Bay Tree for a year now and don’t think I would have enjoyed any other career as much as catering.”
Dan is currently studying for his Level 2 Professional Cookery NVQ and has a history of catering in his family, with his dad and grandmother both being former chefs. He is learning everything from knife skills to presentation and continues to set himself high standards to improve.
“Since working at The Bay Tree I have become very capable with a knife, performing tasks such as boning and filleting fish to preparing vegetables for stocks and main courses. One of my main responsibilities is baking and desserts, which are my favourite. Our meringue roulade with strawberry mascarpone centre involves a lot of different methods and always looks good when presented with care on the plate. I have learnt to take more care in my work and make sure I’m 100% happy sending a dish out, rather than settling for second best”
In the future, Dan hopes to open his own gastropub that serves food accessible to all, from steaks and burgers to fish dishes and specials; varying with the season and ingredients available.
“This idea came from the fact that my aunt used to run a pub when I was younger and I always said we should go into business together. It’s something I’ve always remembered and pushed me towards wanting to make it a reality. Nothing too fancy, as that’s not my style. Just good, simple food that everyone can enjoy at a decent cost and with good service.”
Restaurant owner and Head Chef, Stevan McSweeney, believes in the value of apprenticeships as a way to ensure staff are trained to his own exacting standards.
“I needed a chef and decided to take on Dan as an apprentice so that I could train him to fit with our needs, rather than retrain Joe Bloggs, who although experienced, could have been set in his ways.
“Dan’s attitude is brilliant and he really understands The Bay Tree’s passion and ethos. He had no previous experience so came in with a fresh outlook and an open mind. Apprenticeships are worthwhile for local businesses. Try it!”
Dan added: “My apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to learn ‘hands-on’ in a working environment, which has helped me progress further. I think this route is the best way to learn a trade and earn money at the same time.”
The Gloucestershire College Business Hub advertises all live apprenticeship vacancies online. Visit www.gloscol.ac.uk/apprenticeshipvacancies to search and apply online, or call 01452 563400 for more information.