Ross Wills, Source Food Hall & Cafe
With a love of food that started at a young age, and taking inspiration and knowledge from his father, a baker, chef Ross Wills has been cooking for around 23 years. He’s worked in hotels and restaurants across Bristol, before becoming one of three directors of Source Food Hall & Café in St. Nick’s Market.
But, it all began at City of Bristol College, where Ross studied at our Ashley Down Centre, then called Brunel. He got his NVQ Level 2, took part in an exchange trip to Bordeaux and started working in real industry kitchens – something that really opened his eyes to the world of cooking – and now he is a regular guest chef sharing his knowledge with today’s City of Bristol Catering & Hospitality students.
He says: “I’ve been cooking now for almost 24 years and I still love what I do. It’s hard work and I may not be a millionaire, but I’m really happy. We all start somewhere and I think it’s really important to play a part in the development of the youngsters that are coming into the industry. This is my 3rd year working with students and I think it’s really important to give them an idea of what to expect outside of college – new ingredients, new relationships, new techniques.
“I take on as many students from the College, on work experience, as I can and I like to show them the entire process, from raw ingredients to the finished product. Within this industry you learn a lot of skills, from the essential cooking to time management and communication and it can take you all over the world. I wasn’t very academic at college, so I really found that getting hands on experience helped me build up my skills and I hope I can pass this onto these students.”
Source Food Hall & Café is renowned for evolving to the needs of its customers and the name, Source, comes from the passion of finding, or sourcing, ingredients for its customers. Ross and the rest of his team even give tips on ingredients and how best to prepare and cook them. With around 85% of products made in house, it is an ideal place for students on placement.
In the future, Ross hopes to take on a more prominent role teaching students. But for now, you can sample some of his delicious food at his next dinner date.