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11TH MAR 2024

Catering and Hospitality Students Sampling Work at The Ritz and other Michelin Star Restaurants 

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Michelin Star Work Experience
Michelin Star Work Experience

Two Catering and Hospitality students have been raising the bar with work experience placements recently, undertaking impressive placements in Michelin Star restaurants - and even travelling to London for a taste of life working at The Ritz. 

With support from their Student Mentors, Lily Hargreaves and Courtney Simpson have contacted and gained work experience in restaurants such as The Ritz, Muse by Tom Aikens, and The Langham in London’s West End. They’ve both been working hard to impress restaurant owners and get valuable work experience whilst at college, aiming to fill the college holidays with as much experience as possible. 

Perseverance is key to getting work placements

Both students have highlighted their determination to work in high-end restaurants, sending emails and calling restaurants to gain work experience.  

A highlight for Courtney has been the week-long placement week she undertook at The Ritz:  

“I’ve always wanted to go to The Ritz – it's been one of my goals. I got a lot of help from the GC Employability Team to get there. We crafted the idea of going to The Ritz and how we would do that. I prepared my emails and sent them off. I didn't hear back initially, and so then I called them. I got to stay in London and work there for a week. 

The whole experience was great being around all the professional chefs. The first few days I made afternoon tea and fine dining desserts. Then I went into the restaurant and did service. I learnt time management and consistency. The whole experience was amazing.  

I was really determined and I’m glad they gave me a chance.” 

Perseverance is key to getting work placements

During the holidays, Courtney has also spent work experience weeks at Lumiere, Cheltenham; Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham; Farncombe Estate, Broadway; and Vanilla Pod Bakery, Cheltenham. 

Learning from new experiences has helped her confidence grow: 

“My highlights have been getting to do stuff that I’ve never done before and learning from the chefs and getting their tips. My confidence after all of my work experience kind of shot up and now I feel confident to do more of what I want. I’m more of a confident person.” 

Growing confidence with more experience 

Lily has also grown and become more confident since reaching out to businesses and undertaking work experience, especially since making her way to work in London: 

“It was cool learning to make my way and I felt proud of myself once I’d done it. I liked the independence of getting there. It felt like a bit of an achievement. 

“At the time, I had only just turned 17, so it was very different – I felt more confident contacting places outside of Gloucester and Cheltenham. My next work experience in May is in Bristol.” 

For Lily, it’s important to see as many different restaurants and ways of working as possible while she’s still honing her skills at college. 

“They [the chefs] all showed me what to do and it was cool to see how different people do things at different places. With the 1:1 interaction you get from work experience you can really get into it. I think college has prepared me well because some of the things I felt like I’d be able to do on my own, but some of them were much easier with the guidance.” 

Looking ahead to life after college, Courtney is hoping to travel and learn more about different cuisines around the world, while Lily has set her sights on working in high-end restaurants and one day taking part in a competition like The Great British Menu.  

They both shared some great words of advice for any students hoping to follow in their footsteps too: 

“When doing work experience, if you really want something then it is possible if you keep trying. I proved myself wrong, so do whatever you can to get what you want!”  
Courtney Simpson 

“Apply for as many jobs as possible and get as much experience as you can in as many places as possible. I’m a part-time commis chef at No. 131 in Cheltenham but am still gaining extra experience wherever I can!” 
Lily Hargreaves 

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