Helping Harrogate’s young carers cook up some fun

Young carers have been putting their culinary skills to the test with us.

Members of the Harrogate Young Carers group – part of Carers’ Resource – have all had to shoulder the responsibility of looking after a sibling, parent or other relative at an early age.

That means they often have limited opportunities to enjoy themselves, so when they do get a chance to have fun they grab it.

The college helped them do just that recently when we invited 18 young carers along to use the training kitchens.

The visitors made the most of the opportunity by creating pizzas from scratch, batches of brownies and more. The event was supported by RAF Menwith Hill, which supplied the ingredients, and Heck Food Ltd, which donated a variety of sausages so the children could guess what each one was made of.

A great day out making treats

Young Care Practitioner at Carers’ Resource, Linda Hall said: “The young carers had a fantastic time; the feedback was that they had the best day ever, and didn’t want it to end!

“This was a chance for them to have some respite, away from their caring roles, and to be with others who are in the same situation. They had the pizzas that they made for lunch, made brownies to take home, and enjoyed quizzes about chocolate and other foods.

“The venue was perfect for them as they feel really grown up there, and love the whole set-up of the kitchens. We are very grateful to the college for the invitation and its support.”

The kitchens are usually used by our catering and hospitality students, including on themed dining nights which are open to the public. This autumn the facilities will also be used by those who sign up for two new courses, an After School Cookery Club and, for adults, an Italian cooking course.

A warm welcome for ‘extraordinary visitors

We have invited young carers in to use the kitchens before, as part of our wider support for the group. Hospitality Programme Manager, Jason Parry said: “These young people do extraordinary things every day for others, while also having to deal with their studies and all their other everyday duties.

“So they thoroughly deserve any chance they can get to have fun and enjoy some carefree moments.

“We are delighted to support groups like Harrogate Young Carers, which do such brilliant work in our local community, whenever we can.  They are welcome back any time.”

The team at Carers’ Resource supports young carers in the Bradford, Harrogate, Craven and Selby districts by organising trips, activities, mentoring, youth clubs and more. To find out more visit .

Helping Harrogate sparkle – students capture the Christmas window displays

Harrogate’s shop windows are sparkling again for Christmas – and our students have been helping to showcase some of the finest examples.

Each year businesses are asked to produce eye-catching creations for the Harrogate Christmas Shop Window Competition, which is sponsored by Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID).

This year, four of our Art and Design students – Levi Hughes, Alfie Dorwood, Tilly Fiorini and Maria Rocha – got involved by photographing the entries for the organisers, the Rotary Club of Harrogate.

A credit to the college

Kathryn MacColl, Chair of the rotary club’s Youth Services Committee, said: “The students were a joy to work with and their enthusiasm for their subject shone through.

“They were very polite, well-mannered and considerate as they photographed the shop windows and took care with the general public.

“They were an absolute credit to the college and we wish them every success with their ambitious plans for their future careers.” 

The competition entries were judged on three criteria – illumination, innovation and spirit of Christmas – and the overall winner was announced as Weetons Food Hall.

Serving up a festive feast

Our hospitality students, meanwhile, recently served up a festive feast for local residents.

The event involved transforming the canteen area into a fully operational restaurant where students prepared and served a three course meal .

Based around a traditional Christmas theme, the menu included traditional seasonal fare including turkey crown, nut Wellington, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.

Christmas pudding and snow-dusted mince pies were also on offer, along with mulled wine.

We hold a number of themed and seasonal meals each year to give our hospitality students valuable experience of working in a fast-paced, public-facing environment.

Harrogate College Business Newsletter – November

Harrogate College prides itself on working hand in hand with local businesses and organisations to provide the skills and training they need to ensure that our economy grows and thrives. Our monthly newsletter is a handy way of keeping our partners informed of developments at the college.
To receive future Harrogate College Business Newsletters directly to your inbox click here

Business Newsletter – November 2022
Dear partners,

Sharing our vision for the future, and explaining how we can help businesses and organisations in the district prosper, is a major part of the college’s work.

Hospitality is one of our key sectors, so I was delighted to be asked, along with other guest speakers, to talk at the recent Helping Harrogate Hospitality event.

Our commitment to sustainability and supporting green industries is also one of our top priorities, and it was satisfying to see our efforts recognised at the 2022 Green Gown Awards, where we reached the finals.

Harrogate College prides itself on providing an inclusive and supportive learning environment, where everyone can flourish – including disabled and neurodivergent students. So we are proud to showcase some of the achievements of our learners in this edition, which coincides with UK Disability History Month. 

We have also been hearing from some of our first T Level students about how they’ve been finding these exciting new technical qualifications, which blend academic learning with industry placements.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Danny Wild
Harrogate College


Creating paths into hospitality
Harrogate College prides itself on constantly evolving to provide the skills our key local industries most need.

Principal Danny Wild was one the key speakers at Helping Harrogate Hospitality on 25 November. The event, held at Goldsborough Hall, was organised by Philip Bolson of Mr B Hospitality in partnership with the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Speaking on Supporting Hospitality for the Future, Danny told the guests and other speakers how the college was encouraging students to see the full range of opportunities that the sector offers.

Read the full story here.

Recognition for our sustainability work
Our commitment to sustainability has been recognised by a major environmental awards scheme.The Green Gown Awards celebrates examples of exceptional green projects that are being carried out by education institutions across the country.Harrogate College reached the finals this year after being shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s Employees category. The judges were impressed by the partnership work the college is doing to provide retrofit training, deliver green skills based on local feedback, and embed sustainability into its courses.

Principal Danny Wild said: “This recognition will inspire us to work even harder to become a centre of green excellence and, as outlined in our Sustainability Pledge, become a net zero college by 2035.”

Read more here.

Thumbs-up for T Levels
T Levels, with their unique mix of work-based training and classroom education, are appealing to increasing numbers of people – and especially those interested in getting a ‘head start’ into their careers.

They are also designed to help plug our local and national skills gap, and, through their vocational emphasis, improve the quality of our future workforce.

We recently asked two of the college’s Digital and IT students, Adrian and Claire, about how they have found the T Level experience so far, and what advantages it has brought.

Both of them rated the blended learning style – which involves doing 80% of the course in the classroom, and the other 20% on a quality industry placement – as a key attraction, and cited plenty of other benefits too.

Read the full story here.

Overcoming barriers in study and work
UK Disability History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements of people living with a disability, runs from 16 November to 16 December.

This year, the theme for UK Disability History Month is ‘Disability, Health and Wellbeing’. Unfortunately, there can still be a level of misunderstanding when it comes to some of the challenges disabled and neurodiverse people can experience.

Here at Harrogate College, we have a number of remarkable students who overcome challenges every day and who have gone on to enjoy personal, academic and career success. 

We spoke to three students about their experiences of wellbeing within education and how the college has supported them along the way.

Read more here.


Work with us! We are a college that prides itself on collaborating wth the district’s businesses and community groups. To find out more contact Business Engagement Advisor Susan Roberts, email:,

We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of our Business Newsletter.

Looking to the future – creating paths into hospitality

Our college prides itself on constantly evolving to provide the skills our key local industries most need.

Our Principal, Danny Wild, has been explaining some of the many ways in which we have been supporting the hospitality sector to local businesses.

Danny was one the key speakers at Helping Harrogate Hospitality on 25 November. The event, held at Goldsborough Hall, was organised by Philip Bolson of Mr B Hospitality in partnership with the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Speaking on Supporting Hospitality for the Future, Danny told the guests and other speakers how the college was encouraging students to see the full range of opportunities that the sector offers.

Shining a light on opportunities – and role models

Catering stars Neil Mendoza and Callum Bowmer
Hospitality stars Neil Mendoza and Callum Bowmer

He said: “The college is providing careers advice that encourages students to think beyond ‘front-of-house’, because the hospitality industry also includes things like finance, marketing and much more.

“I also spoke about how our employers’ network, which ties into our commitment to delivering an employer-led curriculum, lets local businesses directly influence what kinds of courses and skills we provide based on their needs.

“We have also been active in producing media pieces to shine a light on locally-grown success stories in the media. For example, earlier this year we produced a widely publicised article which featured two former Harrogate College students who have become hospitality stars, Callum Bowmer and Neil Mendoza.

“These kinds of inspiring examples provide great role models for our students while promoting the local hospitality industry.”

Invaluable experience and collaboration

Danny discussed the lifeskills training that students have been getting too, such as customer service training experience – and how that was showcased at the college’s recent recruitment fair.

And he stressed the importance of developing students’ soft skills, especially STEM 7 (the core skills that underpin Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills, to arm them with transferable talents.

Our hospitality team ensures that our students gain some invaluable experience of working in a fast, public-facing environment through the themed dining nights that we hold during each year.

Hospitality students are also taken on regular fact-finding trips to local hotels and restaurants, like Rudding Park.Our partnership work with local businesses, meanwhile, has led to students producing sustainable dining menu ideas for RHS Garden Harlow Park.

Serving up the right support for the hospitality sector

Two leading lights of the local catering industry have praised Harrogate College for helping them launch their careers.

Chef Callum Bowmer and restaurant and hotel general manager Neil Mendoza have both gone on to great things since training with the college.

Neil Mendoza, who studied management and hospitality courses from 2008 to 2010, went on to fill several senior positions for celebrity chef Marcus Wareing’s restaurants, including MARCUS at The Berkeley Hotel in London.

Neil is now back in Harrogate where he is General Manager at The Studley Hotel and Orchid Restaurant.

Callum, meanwhile, who was named Chef of the Year at the Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards 2022, did an apprenticeship with the college in 2011. He is now Head Chef of the 3AA Rosette Horto Restaurant, at Rudding Park.

Both agree that their time at college provided a crucial, and rewarding, route into the industry.

A fantastic experience with great tutors

Neil said: “It was a fantastic experience as it allowed me to learn more about the sector and led me to exactly where I am today.

“I was already working part-time in a restaurant where my dad was a chef. The course made me understand the industry much better and helped me decide that this is the career I’d like to pursue.”

Callum said: “My time at college was fun, progressive and useful. I had two great tutors in Mark Wilkinson, who’s no longer with the college, and Karina Dodsworth.

“I believe I showed passion and respect so they invested their time in me. I did day-release and had a session with Mark where we covered all the skills we needed, from butchery to pastry.

“I even remember going to London with a small team to do a sushi demonstration at Excel Arena, at a WorldSkills competition, which was fantastic. A sushi chef had come to train us months beforehand, and gave us the skills we needed.”

The college’s hospitality team has been working hard over the past year to strengthen its support for local businesses. Those efforts have included reaching out, through the Harrogate College Employers’ Network, to find out exactly what skills firms need.

They were also pleased to welcome Neil earlier this year, when he came in to college to deliver an inspirational talk to students.

Targeted help for the local industry

The hospitality sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, due to repeated lockdowns which shook consumer confidence and led to the loss of many skilled employees.

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, said: “The fantastic success of former students like Callum and Neil is an inspiration to us all, and shows what can be achieved. We are delighted to have played a part in that success.

“We have been working closely with many local hospitality businesses over the past year as part of our efforts to help the district recover from Covid-19.

“That work has included talking directly to employers about what they need from new employees and then customising our training to ensure it delivers.

“Our themed dining nights have also been part of that, and have given our students some invaluable experience of working in a fast-paced restaurant. We have also been taking them on fact-finding trips, to places like Rudding Park, to show them best-practice and to help them gain an understanding of how businesses operate.

“It is all about ensuring that they leave here with a skillset that will prove invaluable to our local hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars – and so enable them to thrive in the industry.”

The value of apprenticeships, hard work and patience

Neil and Callum, meanwhile, are happy to share some tips with aspiring hospitality professionals. Callum said: “You have to be happy in your work, so for me being a chef is great because that’s what I love to do.

“I would definitely recommend considering an apprenticeship, as you will learn so much more with the combination of a good workplace and a great college course. Also, question everything and if you don’t know something, ask – there’s no such thing as a silly question.

“It’s also vital to demonstrate a great work ethic; be on time, be eager, be passionate, be driven, be clean and work hard. Good luck!”

Neil added: “I am loving every bit of my current role, especially because I am also now back in Harrogate after living and working in London for a decade to elevate my career.

“To all the aspiring young chefs, waiters and other hospitality professionals, I would say: focus on the positives and learn from your mistakes, as this will define who you are in the industry and only make you better.

“It may be a long journey to where you want to be, but patience is key and working hard will get you there.”Click here for more details on the college’s hospitality and catering courses. More information on apprenticeships, meanwhile, can be found here.

Design-a-menu project hailed as a great example of teamwork

‘A really successful collaboration’.

That’s the tasty verdict on a design-the-menu project that Harrogate College has just completed for RHS Garden Harlow Carr.

Hospitality students were asked to create a hypothetical menu, with a focus on sustainability, for the new café Harlow Carr is creating at the former Harrogate Arms pub.

The challenge involved the students splitting into sub-teams to come up with different ideas. Their completed menus ended up featuring everything from vegetable lasagne to an eggs Benedict and smoothie combo, along with some inventive twists on traditional family favourites.

Each sub-group had to then explain their concepts, and provide samples of their dishes for tasting, during an end-of-project presentation.

The Harlow Carr team were impressed with the results, and gave positive feedback across the board.

Praise for thoughtful, well-planned and sustainability-focused ideas

Commenting on a presentation by students Ellena, Chris and Amber, they said:The vegetable lasagne and side salad looked very colourful and fresh. It was excellently presented and would appeal to both adults and children alike.

“The presentation was extremely thorough and well planned. There was excellent consideration given to sourcing local food and reducing the carbon footprint.

“Their menu choice appealed to us as they had considered our audience and their needs. They provided a menu that created the option of eating in or ‘taking out’, which customers would appreciate the flexibility.

“Consideration was also given to the ‘take-out’ packaging providing ethical choices, for example through using beeswax wraps.”

The project proved a hit with the students too, who enjoyed a fact-finding trip to the gardens. They were then given a ‘sowing and growing’ masterclass – using planters built at the college – by an RHS Harlow Carr gardener, who visited several times.

Harrogate College, which is working towards becoming net zero carbon by 2030, has made sustainability one of its key goals and provides carbon literacy training to students and staff.

A great chance to grow and develop

In her report, Professional Cookery student Ellena Harrison-Wood described how she relished the chance to come up with environmentally-friendly solutions as part of her team’s pitch.

She said: “Doing this project massively helped me personally grow and develop a lot of skills, including my *STEM 7 skills. 

“We were very conscious of our carbon footprint and making it as small as possible. Part of our plan was to use local businesses in Harrogate to really cut down on the travel of our ingredients, and to give back to the local community. “

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, added: “It has been a really successful collaborative project and the students have taken a lot from it.

“They did a great job, and we’re already talking to Harlow Carr about teaming up again soon.”

Students, staff and visitors, meanwhile, will be able to sample some of the vegetables and herbs that the students have been growing when the Bistro holds a Street Food Festival on Thursday 30 June.

The event – which will include entertainment – runs from 6pm to 8.30pm and costs £15, which gives diners five tickets to spend at food and drink stalls. 

More details on our hospitality courses can be found here.

*STEM 7 refers to the core skills that underpin STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and are vital in all kinds of jobs. Those are: creative thinking, data-driven decisions, collaboration, communication, flexibility, intellectual curiosity and problem solving.

Cookery students put skills to good use for Irish-themed evening

Professional Cookery students got a chance to hone their fish preparation skills while preparing a themed menu for St Patrick’s Day.

The Harrogate College students, who recently completed a unit focused on preparing and cooking fish, had to produce a four course meal for paying visitors at the March event.

The dishes they created were inspired by the theme of the Irish Coast. They included salmon pate (served with pickled cucumber and Guinness and treacle soda bread) and cod in white wine and chive sauce, with a traditional lamb stew also prepared as an alternative.

As always on dining nights, the college’s canteen area was transformed into a busy restaurant which, on this occasion, served about 40 guests.

A great success

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, said: “The evening put the students’ skills to the test and was a great success.

“The progress they have made was clear for all to see.”

A Professional Cookery student at Harrogate College preparing fish
A Professional Cookery student at Harrogate College preparing fish

The cookery students also recently enjoyed a trip to Leeds city centre where they were given a hotel tour, visited the Corn Exchange, sampled some dishes at Leeds Trinity, and took a ride on a water taxi.

After sampling the food at Trinity Kitchen the group took part in a challenge that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the BBC’s The Apprentice.

Based at Kirkgate Market, the students were divided into teams that had to gather specific information about seafood and meat, and find the most unusual fruit and vegetables.

The Leeds visit was arranged as a fun-focused reward for the students following months of hard work. 

Professional Cookery student Ellena Harrison-Wood said: “The Leeds trip was an amazing experience for us and the other hospitality students that came along.

“At the market we were shown the importance of shopping locally, and how important community cohesion is when it comes to the hospitality sector and good food in general.

“As for the Saint Patrick’s night meal, the customers had a great time and said we had improved massively since our first Italian night, last year.”

The college, which runs a range of hospitality and professional cookery courses, has been working closely with local businesses to help the sector recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Inspirational hotel tour for hospitality students

Hospitality students from Harrogate College have enjoyed an educational tour of Rudding Park.

Fifteen hospitality students were guided around the luxury hotel, and given an insight into its catering facilities and procedures, by Chef Consultant Stephanie Moon.

The March trip was organised to prepare the students, who have all secured roles with a variety of local employers, for a work experience week while enriching their studies.

Perfect preparation for work

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, said: “This was a great experience for our students, and good preparation for their work placements.

“They were given a welcome toast and then, as part of the guided tour by Stephanie, shown various suites including the impressive ‘home cinema’ room.

“We were also shown around the multiple kitchen and food production areas which are used to produce food for the entire site. These led to the amazing kitchen gardens where we saw a variety of food being grown to sustain the kitchens – and a few of our more adventurous students tried some of the more unusual plants!”

A resilient industry

Harrogate College, which runs a range of hospitality and professional cookery courses,  has been working closely with local businesses to help the sector recover from the impact of the pandemic and repeated lockdowns.

That effort has been strengthened through  the creation of the Harrogate College Employers’ Network, which launched in 2021.

So the visiting students and staff were pleased to hear encouraging news on that front from Rudding Park’s leadership team.

Jason added: “We finished the tour with some inspirational talks by key members of the management team, who shared their love for the industry and the opportunities it can provide.

“They also shared their post-Covid plan for recruiting and retaining staff, which really shows how the industry can meet the current needs of the employees’ market. This is a real win for our students and the industry, showing its post-pandemic resilience.”

Harrogate students lay on a festive feast

Hospitality students at Harrogate have rounded off the year by serving up a European inspired Christmas feast to members of the public.

The Christmas around Europe gourmet evening took place at Harrogate College on Thursday 9 December when guests were treated to a three course meal featuring dishes based on festive continental classics.

The event attracted nearly 60 people and saw the college’s regular canteen area transformed into a fully operational restaurant.

An invaluable learning experience

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, said: “The evening put the learners through their paces, catering to over 50 with a three course meal.

“The students had the opportunity to experience how it felt working as part of a team and in a busy restaurant environment.

“They battled through confidence issues and worked really hard to perform well, and this was reflected in the customer feedback. The evening was a great success.”

The college’s hospitality students also recently enjoyed a fact-finding tour of the Grand Hotel, in York, as part of an enrichment day that included a walk along the city’s historic walls.

A grand day out in York

Mr Parry added: “The hotel tour was really well put together by the staff.

“We had some talks from key employees and learnt how the business, which runs its own amazing cookery school, diversified after Covid-19 as well as how it is performing now.

“Following a tour of the suites and key features of the hotel we had a mocktail master class, which was a lot of fun for the students.

“We then went for a walk on the wall until we got to the centre of York, where the students had some free time to explore the Christmas market, before all going for a meal at Bella Italia – which linked in to the students’ previous unit on pasta.”

Mocktail making at the Grand Hotel, York

The first event of 2022 for Harrogate College’s restaurant will be a food and wine pairing evening, which representatives from the wine industry are being encouraged to attend, on Thursday 10 February.

The hospitality students will produce five light courses for the event, which is designed to teach students and guests about how the right combinations of food and wine can enhance the dining experience. The evening will include tasting notes, a tasting menu, and specialist speakers.

For more details about hospitality and catering courses at the college visit