Redbridge College students impress as professional chefs at London 2012
24 September 2012
A hearing-impaired learner from Redbridge College has impressed a top catering firm so much that they have offered him a job once he finishes studying at the college.
Ryan Easton, 19, was among 52 Redbridge College learners who worked alongside the leading caterer as professional chefs at the London 2012 Games.
Learners served food for more than 13,000 athletes over a 10 week period at the Olympic Park this summer, including at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
Ryan was initially supported by a member of the College's Additional Learning Support staff while working at the Games. But, after gaining in confidence, Ryan was able to work unsupervised alongside experienced chefs - with his skills catching the eye of experienced colleagues.
Ryan said: "It was very hard work each day but if there were any problems we all helped each other - the people I was working with were all incredibly nice. I learnt new skills and techniques that I hadn't seen before. The thing I will remember most is the respect I received and knowledge I gained from the experienced chefs who acted as my mentors."
Since enrolling at Redbridge College in 2010 Ryan has been fully supported by the College's Additional Learning Support team and he is now set to follow his dream of working in the catering industry.
Curriculum Area Manager for Hospitality & Catering at the College, Sharon Sullivan, worked alongside learners as Chef Manager in the Main Production Kitchen at the Olympic Park.
Sharon commented: "I am incredibly proud and overwhelmed by the dedication and motivation of the Redbridge College learners who took part in this once in a lifetime experience.
"The response of chefs from all over the world to working alongside our learners was also fantastic."
Redbridge College learners who worked at The Games as professional chefs all study Hospitality & Catering courses at Levels 1, 2 or 3 at the College.
The learners, who worked as full-time commis chefs, earned upwards of £10 an hour while serving some of the Games' biggest starts including Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.
Learner Vilson Delishaj, 17, worked at the Olympic Park athlete's restaurant during both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
He said: "This was my first ever experience of paid work in the industry. It was great to be able to meet and learn from experienced chefs from all over the world - to get paid as well made it even better! Being in the athlete's village was just amazing. Everyone was so friendly and there was a great working atmosphere. Just to know that I have been part of the Olympics is incredible. It was a once in a lifetime experience."
Meanwhile learner Omar Ben-Haddouch, also 17, impressed catering managers and was able to earn a promotion in the kitchen. He said: "My favourite parts of the experience were gaining knowledge from chefs from all over the world and meeting the Paralympic athletes - they inspired me so much."
Learners studying Hospitality & Catering courses at Redbridge College are able to train in the College's Rouge Restaurant - a real-life restaurant open to the public.
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