Top pastry chef rolls out skills to students
A FORMER catering student at Boston College has returned to the campus to share his experiences of building a successful restaurant career.
After completing his catering qualifications at Boston College, Stefan Howells undertook six weeks of unpaid work experience at Le Manoir, Raymond Blanc's famous restaurant in Oxford where they then offered him a job.
Stefan started at the bottom but worked his way up, and at 21 became head pastry chef.
He said: "I always knew I enjoyed cooking and although I learnt all the skills I needed on my course, my lecturers taught me that to work with the best chefs, and in the best restaurants, you have to have the right attitude.
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"Most importantly you have to show you're dedicated as that's what top chefs are really looking for – they can teach you the rest."
Stefan was also offered the opportunity to enter the World Skills Competition, a prestigious global skills challenge and his mentors flew him to France, Switzerland and Belgium to undertake training with the world's top chocolatiers, bakers and sugar craftsmen in preparation.
His dedication paid off and Stefan was awarded 'Pastry Chef of the Year' an accolade that opened many doors for him and led him to a position with Marcus Warning at The Berkley Hotel in London, the sister hotel of The Savoy.
Stefan added: "I learnt so much from the experience and found another level to my career, not only focussing on presentation and the art of a pastry chef, but the commitment to flavour, texture and overall experience of preparing and eating food."
Stefan now works at Le Trois Rois Cheval another two Michelin Star hotel and restaurant in Basil, Switzerland, where he had to learn fluent German in six months to be able to work in the non-English speaking kitchen.
Stefan recently returned to the College whilst on holiday to share what he has learnt, the opportunities he took and most importantly the experiences he has had.
He spent two days in the bakery with the students, teaching and imparting his wisdom.
Amber Kemp, a Level 3 Patisseries and Confectionery Diploma student said: "Having Stefan come back to the Boston College Bakery has been amazing. He's told us everything he could about getting in contact with the best restaurants and what we need to do if we want to be successful.
"It's been a great opportunity, as aside from him being a former student, he's an amazing pastry chef working in one of the best two Michelin starred restaurants in the world.
"Spending time with us in the bakery has been brilliant, we've learnt so much."