PROSPECTIVE chefs studying at Ayrshire College were delighted to welcome Bill Costley back to his old college for a special visit to the hospitality department.
The Costley & Costley co-owner spoke to a class of Hospitality Management students before inviting executive chef, Andrew Costley, and Lochgreen House Hotel head chef, Iain Conway, to hold a cooking demonstration for the College’s Professional Cookery students.
The pair were assisted by Costley & Costley executive chef and former Ayrshire College student, Lesley Mcquiston, as they cooked up two dishes – spiced scallops and carrot textures with an Asian broth, and wild mushrooms with wilted spinach and an artichoke foam topped with a crispy potato fried egg.
There was also an opportunity for students to pitch their questions to the representatives of Costley & Costley – one of the leading employers within the hospitality industry in Ayrshire.
Costley & Costley own a rich portfolio of well-established Ayrshire venues including the Lochgreen House Hotel, Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, Highgrove House Hotel, Cochrane Inn and Souter’s Inn.
Some students made the most of the networking opportunity by taking business cards from Bill Costley at the end of his visit!
Bill, as well as being a former student of Ayrshire College, is on the board of management and was eager to attend the Ayr campus to offer his advice and expertise to the current crop of Ayrshire College hospitality students.
He said: “The college has been a part of my life for many years. I started off here when I was 16 and it’s been great to be invited back to see what the current courses are like.
“I think it’s quite important for us to be here and let the students see what we’re doing. I would hope that some of our future staff members are here as there’s a dearth of talent in the industry. It’s a fantastic job – one where you can travel the world.
“If I can put a wee bit back into the hospitality industry through the college then great.”
Students Stephen Beswick and Rachael Picken, studying HNC Professional Cookery, took a lot away from the visit.
Stephen said: “Having Costley & Costley come in has been invaluable. Watching the chefs work together as a team impressed me. I would love to produce this sort of food on a regular basis, but I think I’d need to be in the business for a long time before I get to that level! It’s been an outstanding experience.”
Rachael Picken said: “I’ve taken away new techniques in how the place everything together. It’s good to see employers come in and show us these new ideas for us to go away and think about; we’ve been given an insight into how they operate on a day-to-day basis.
“I’m always looking to do new things and I’d love to get into fine dining.”
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