The Cumbrian trio graduated from the English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues Culinary Academy

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Three teenagers from Cumbria are well on their way to careers as chefs, after completing a tailor-made apprenticeship program run by a Lake District hotel group.

Maria Cheetham, 17, of Haverigg, Jonny Marriott of Staveley and Rebecca Atkinson of Heysham, all graduated with flying colors from the Culinary Academy of English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues.

It gives them all an NVQ Level 2 Production Manager qualification, the course being delivered in partnership with Kendal College.

Having left school in 2020, the three interns wanted to pursue a career in the hotel industry. The training allowed them to hone their chef skills while earning a salary in the hotel group.

Maria was based at the Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa in Windermere, Jonny at the nearby Wild Boar Inn, and Rebecca at the art-deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe.

Under the tutelage of English Lakes Hotels’ highly experienced chef, Daniel Winstanley, the Culinary Academy offers a fully accredited apprenticeship program for young people over the age of 16 who drop out of school to train as a clerk.

Daniel Winstanley said: “All three students have done brilliantly, especially in the context of the pandemic and the various restrictions along the way.

“It’s a testament to them that their respective chefs have made it clear that they want them to continue working for them.

“Maria got a well-deserved distinction in one of her final exam elements. She started out in baking and cold entrees in Low Wood Bay’s extremely busy kitchen, often exceeding 500 place settings a day, but was never fazed.

“Rebecca’s commitment to the course has been exceptional and she has been recognized by the team at The Midland for their hard work and commitment.

“When an opportunity arose to serve an outside function, Rebecca jumped at the chance and really shone.

“Jonny’s confidence has grown, which is well demonstrated in a culinary challenge where students work independently under exam-like conditions.

“He is now responsible for the wildly popular afternoon tea at the Wild Boar Inn and takes on more responsibility for evening service and supervision. ”

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