Students outside Aztec Hotel and Spa
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Catering and hospitality students go behind the scenes at the Aztec Hotel and Spa

Our talented catering and hospitality students recently spent the day at one of Bristol’s best four-star hotels.

The Level 2 Technical Food Preparation and Service students, who are in their first year of their course with us, were given the opportunity to spend a day at the Aztec Hotel and Spa, near Aztec West, where they got hands-on experience of the food service and kitchen side of the industry.

Students were divided into teams and given the opportunity to learn basic hospitality and housekeeping skills such as making mocktails and handling complaints.

They also had the opportunity to learn from Chef Marc Payne, who has also cooked at our City Restaurants’ gourmet nights, to create delicious chocolate desserts.

Gareth Ireland, General Manager at Aztec Hotel, said: “For the hotel, a big part of our focus is being part of the community and we are a family-run business throughout the UK.

“We don’t want to be seen as a ‘cookie-cutter’ hotel. Having strong links with the college is something my predecessor had, which I have continued and tried to enhance as we have moved forward.

“Days like this are about bringing people in to see a hotel and how we operate, but also treating the students as adults who will not only work in hotels but hopefully enjoy them as guests. Helping to gove give them the wow-factor of what this industry can offer.”

The event was well-received by the students and gave them the opportunity to gain industry knowledge and key skills to take forward into their careers.

College Lecturer, Ryan Fernandes, said: “The Aztec Hotel and Spa supported us, helping to plant the right seed in our 45 learners by organising a day of memorable experiences at the hotel.

“It was a day well spent as they were introduced to all the major departments of the hotel with a number of different workshops, and finished the day with a delicious lunch.

“This is all thanks to the General Manager, Gareth Ireland, for giving them this above-and-beyond experience, making sure the future of hospitality is nurtured with a great introduction. We now have 10 students who have expressed their interest and they all will be working there soon!”

Aztec’s Executive Head Chef, Marc Payne, said: “The students got the opportunity to really see the foundations of where they are going with their career. It is really important for our industry for a positive light to be put on hospitality.

“It has had such negative spin and Covid really gave it the boost it needed to change, but we need to start showing people there is another side to hospitality.

“Why can’t you be a chef, work in reception, or as a waiter or waitress and still have a work-life balance? It is a different ball game now and we get the opportunity to show them this.”

To find out more about the college’s catering provision, or to book to dine at the City Restaurant, visit our website.

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