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Former catering student visits from America to share his experience

Catering and Hospitality have been joined by alumnus Clive Wanstall this week, as he tours UK catering colleges on a three-month sabbatical.

The former student turned chef instructor is spending two days with our current Catering students to share his industry experience.

Clive, who studied Catering and Hospitality with us 1972–1974, has been working as a teacher for the past 20 years in America at the Lane Community College in Oregon. The community college trains future chefs and has a working restaurant, similar to our Yarrow hotel, where students put their skills into practice.

Clive is thrilled to be revisiting Broadstairs College after so many years as he has always wanted a chance to return, to ‘give something back’. During his visit he has been joining in with students’ classes and sharing his advice. Clive’s main bit of advice to all aspiring chefs is that ‘exposure to different tastes is vital; you need to taste good food to know how to make good food’ and that only by continually developing your palette can you develop your skills as a chef. Clive has also encouraged the students to ‘learn by their mistakes and keep trying’ as college is the time to develop your skills and failure is an important part of the learning process. 

Clive’s career has been very varied since completing his qualification in the 1970s. First he went to London and worked at places such as The Dorchester and The Millennium. He later joined the Royal Engineers as a chef. Clive’s spirit of adventure soon took him across to America, where he worked in California and Hawaii in various restaurants and hotels before he settled in Oregon. As Clive puts it, “All my technical skills were gained at college. Stir frying is stir frying and the techniques never change, but what I love about catering is that it never gets boring. The context, elements and dynamics are always changing, and I’m always learning something new.”

The students and staff were all really pleased to show Clive how things have changed over the past 40 years and enjoyed hearing him reminisce about the old restaurant and refectory. Visits from former students also play a valuable part in helping our current students develop and identify career paths. Clive’s wide range of experience shows that learning a vocational qualification can take you in any direction and even all over the world. 

Start your career in Catering this September.