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National Apprenticeship Week 2022: Former Apprentice lands Head Chef role

Monday 7 February 2022

Former Hospitality and Catering Apprentice at Selby College Luke Royle has gone on to fulfil a successful career in the industry, securing a Head Chef role at Mercure Hotel.

Following his Level 3 Chef De Partie Apprenticeship, Luke secured a full-time role as a Chef De Partie at Loftsome Bridge Hotel in Wressle, Selby, before moving on to Mercure Hotel in Wetherby.

As part of his role as Head Chef, Luke oversees the creation of the menu for the Hotel and manages a team of six Chefs. Luke also deals with suppliers both locally and nationally to ensure good quality produce for the restaurant and is in charge of managing and ordering stock.

“As part of my Apprenticeship, I learnt a lot about different working methods and how to work effectively with different roles and personalities within the Hospitality and Catering industry. I believe this knowledge, as well as my experience working in kitchens since I was 18 years old, are a great asset to me in my role as Head Chef. I enjoy making complex dishes and putting together new menu ideas, so it’s great to be able to have the team, equipment and produce to bring these dishes to life,” added Luke.

Luke studied A Levels at Selby College before deciding he wanted to embark on a career in Hospitality and Catering, first starting at York Marina in 2015 before moving on to the Black Dogg Inn at Camblesforth in September 2017. Luke then progressed onto a Level 3 Chef De Partie Apprenticeship at the College, where he carried out his practical assessments at the Black Dogg Inn.

As part of his Apprenticeship, Luke learned how to manage a small team of workers and how to keep them organised to ensure that dishes go out on time and the work area remains clean and orderly at all times.

Luke then moved to Loftsome Bridge Hotel where he met the current partner of the business, Nigel Dibb. In October 2021, Nigel became the General Manager of Interstate Hotel & Resorts, which would entail him managing Mercure Hotel in Wetherby.

Over the years, Nigel has worked closely with Selby College to secure a number of Apprentices and work placement opportunities for his Hospitality and Catering operations. Many of Nigel’s employees have also been former students of the College.

Nigel said: “I first met Luke when he started at Loftsome Bridge Hotel in August 2019 as a Chef de Partie. His first shift was a busy Saturday with 72 covers but he dealt with the pressure and fast paced environment extremely well. From that day, I have been astounded by Luke’s passion and work ethic and that is why when I joined Interstate Hotel & Resorts last year and we needed a Head Chef to manage the kitchen and restaurant, I knew he would be the right guy for the job.”

“We’ve got a long road ahead as the Hospitality and Catering industry builds back after the pandemic, but I know with that by working together with Luke and the rest of the Catering team, we can create a fantastic experience for our Hotel guests. There’s lots of exciting things planned at the Hotel in 2022 and I look forward to what the future holds,” added Nigel.

Selby College is one of the largest providers of Apprenticeship training in the area and works with a wide range of employers across the region to develop Apprenticeships in Hospitality and Catering, Business Administration, Construction, Engineering and much more.

The College offers a range of Apprenticeships in the Hospitality and Catering sector for a number of roles, including Chef De Partie, Commis Chef, Production Chef and Hospitality Team Member, Hospitality Supervisor and Hospitality Manager.

Luke Royle pictured left with fellow chef Abraham Mwaisaka at Mercure Hotel in Wetherby