English Lakes Culinary Academy Welcomes Aspiring Chefs

English Lakes Culinary Academy is going from strength to strength, despite recent restrictions. Established in 2017 and overseen at that time by award winning chef, Steven Doherty, it is now in its fourth year and ten students have progressed through the fully accredited course.

Rising Stars

Daniel Winstanley, Senior Head Chef who oversees the Culinary Academy

At the start of this academic year, Daniel Winstanley was appointed to head up the Academy. A Senior Head Chef at English Lakes Hotels, Daniel has a huge amount of experience in the industry with a particular passion for helping aspiring young chefs reach their full potential. Daniel’s previous experience included a role as senior lecturer at Wigan and Leigh College. He comments,

“I’m passionate about all things hospitality and helping young people achieve their goals.

“We’ve a number of rising stars in the academy so it’s an exciting challenge to help equip them with the skills they need to succeed. Steven has laid the foundations to ensure that the English Lakes Culinary Academy is a popular route for trainee chefs. They get to experience a range of practical opportunities to work with the group’s head chefs at top notch venues.”

Welcoming New Students

The 2020 Student Cohort - Maria, Jonny and Rebecca. with Daniel Winstanley and Val Still

In September 2020 we welcomed 16-year-olds Maria Cheetham from Haverigg, Jonny Mariott from Staveley and Rebecca Atkinson from Heysham, a cohort of three aspiring young chefs. They will proceed through the two year apprenticeship, in partnership with Kendal College, and with a view to becoming fully fledged commis chefs. This allows the students to learn their craft whilst earning a wage with the hotel group.    


Breadmaking - one of the new skills the apprentices learn

The three students are based at different hotels within the group, Maria at Low Wood Bay Resort, Jonny will be working at the Wild Boar Inn and Rebecca will learn the ropes at The Midland in Morecambe.

Maria commented,

“It’s obviously not been the easiest time for school leavers like us but I knew I wanted to become a chef, so the academy is providing the ideal route. We’re all thrilled to get going, start training and hopefully forge successful future careers.”

Jack Muir, who was one of the first cohort in the scheme, completed his course and has gone on to be Demi Chef de Partie at Low Wood Bay’s restaurant, Blue Smoke on the Bay.

Covid Restrictions

Naturally Covid has impacted the students training. In the first national lockdown training moved online. This was challenging both for the apprentices' as well as for Daniel. All exams are now done via online platforms so the current students aren't carrying out cooking exams. The restrictions also mean that visits to suppliers to see their operation have had to be put on hold.   

Prior to lockdown, the students tackled a delicious four course banquetting menu - the photos speak for themselves! 

Duck Fat poached Salmon, Pea Soup & Quail Egg, followed by Loin of Lamb in Parsley Crust, Rosemary Mash, Tomato Jam, Courgette and Basil, Crispy Sweetbreads and Nicoise Jus

Kitchen Skills and Food Preparation

The young Chefs are currently studying the City & Guilds, Level 2 Chef Apprenticeship programme. It covers all aspects of kitchen skills, knowledge and behaviours. In the first 12 weeks of the course, they sample a different topic each week such as basic vegetable cuts. fish preparation, meat butchery, pasta, bread making. No doubt, the favourite sessions are always the desserts.

Vanilla Souffle


Apply for the English Lakes Culinary Academy

We are always keen to hear from aspiring young Chefs. For more information about the course, and to apply, click on this link.