NC Professional Cookery Level 5 – Nicole Allan

We are rounding up our theme of Hospitality and Tourism this week with an interview from Professional Cookery student Nicole Allan.

The hospitality industry in Scotland can be a very exciting career option. It is a fast paced, customer-orientated industry that offers a variety of career pathways and progressions.

Through school-college partnerships S4, S5 and S6 school pupils across Ayrshire can take a hospitality course while at school to enhance their employability and career pathways.


We interviewed some of the Professional Cookery students in December 2015 and caught up this month with Lecturer Graham Headland and Nicole Allan who took the 2015-2016 course.

Graham said “The pupils in this group were so hard-working, focused and would do anything to help. They mixed really well with all the lecturers and staff as well as with each other. We had lots of events this year which they all volunteered to help with, just to gain experience. For example, the students catered for the College’s annual business dinner. I didn’t tell them until about five minutes before it started that they would be preparing the canapés in front of the guests. They did a fantastic job under the pressure and cooked really well.” 1“This group was so focused that they took work home to complete so that they could be finished before the Easter break, giving them more time to study for their school exams.”

“Most of the students on the course got a job in hospitality when they left school including Adam and Ashleigh who we have already featured on our blog.

Nicole went on to get a job at the Dormy Clubhouse Restaurant at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, an amazing position for a student to get straight out of school.”

Interview with Nicole

Why did you choose to do the Hospitality Higher Professional Cookery course?

I decided to do a school/college course because I thought it would teach me what being at college is actually like, so I knew what to expect if I decided to do a full time course there. I’ve always had a passion for cooking and thought it would give me a true understanding of what the hospitality industry is like to work in. I hadn’t had any experience in cooking before the course but I did have a part-time job as a waitress.

What did you like best in the course?

In the course I liked the cooking part the best because we got to try out different dishes. We also prepped and cooked for many functions such as cooking for our teachers and parents.

What was the most challenging aspect?

The most challenging aspect of the course was when we had to cook for customers because it put me under a lot of pressure to make sure everything was ready and served on time.

How does going to school and taking a college course work?

On a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon our timetable would be scheduled for College between 2pm-4pm. It was good because it showed us how different school was to college. At school you were helped a lot more than you were at college, there is also much more you get to do at college. Schools are limited to the things they are able to teach.

Nicole has now left school and secured a fantastic job as a Second Commis Chef at the Gleneagles Hotel. She has been working there for three months now.

How did you hear about the job at Gleneagles?

I heard about the job at Gleneagles from my sisters’ college lecturer who gave me details to email.

What was the application process like?

First of all, I had a chat with the Sous Chef about the hotel and then I put on my chef whites and joined them in the kitchen. I was given tasks to do in the kitchen throughout a four hour interview.

What is it like working in The Dormy Clubhouse at Gleneagles Hotel?

I absolutely love working at Gleneagles. The chefs that I work with in the Dormy Clubhouse make it much more fun as they’re all such nice people. They have all helped me a lot since I started and really helped me settle in. I am staying in staff accommodation, which is handy as it’s only a five minute walk to work and has everything you need like the staff gym and you also get your own bathroom in your room.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge so far has probably been moving away so far from my family at a young age as I now need to do my own laundry and shopping!

How do you feel about this achievement?

I am extremely proud to say that I work in a five-star resort at 17 years old. Everything that we have to do has to be to five-star quality and I am happy that my head chef thinks I am capable of this.

What are your future ambitions?

I plan on staying at Gleneagles for a long time (hopefully) and then after try other well known restaurants all over the world or maybe somewhere closer to home such as Trump Turnberry.


Apply now for courses in Hospitality and Tourism

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