Hospitality Lecturer Andreas Kosmas, aged 28, started his journey at City of Bristol College back in 2009 where he studied Level 3 BTEC Catering and Hospitality. After leaving the College in 2011 with a diploma under his belt, he went on to work at a number of different food establishments at a range of different levels before coming full circle to return to the College – this time on the other side of the desk as the teacher.
Find out what made him come back to the college exactly 10 years after he first joined as a student:
Q: How did you come to study at City of Bristol
College in 2009 and what do you remember from your three years with us?
A: So, Tomislav Hernija and Ryan Fernandes taught me when I was a student here – which was a really nice thing to come back too – but back then the restaurant side was not new to me. I had worked in my parents’ restaurant in Greece from a young age. However, the kitchen side was all new as was a lot of the theory side of things we did and they were fun for me to learn.
What I do specifically remember was the support I received even after finishing College. If a student asked me what was the best thing about studying at the college, I would say I learned a lot and it was a really nice course to do but after my course finished, I could always email one of my tutors and they would invite me in for coffee and help me with my next move. The after-care support was brilliant.
I worked at a restaurant in Bristol, which has now closed, for three weeks for my work experience where they offered me a front-of-house job straight after my placement which helped start me off on my career path in England.
Q: How did you find moving to Bristol from
A: I lived with my family in Skiathos, I finished my A Levels in Greece in 2009 then I came straight here. Bristol was a bigger city and my mum’s side of the family live in Cheltenham and I found myself gravitating to Bristol. I have always spoken both English and Greek my whole life because of my mum.
Moving to England was my first experience of living alone and the education system is very different from Greece. Back home, all you have in the classroom is a blackboard and chalk, if you are lucky you have a flipchart. So, coming here, having laptops and computers in every room was a privilege.
When I was working in the College restaurant and I was making so many drinks to get it right, I was thinking ‘who is paying for all of this?’ and there was no limit to what we could make to learn how to do it right.
Q: What happened after you left City of Bristol
A: I was at Border Quay for a year before I left and went to the Pump House where I was for five years. There I worked my way up the ranks all the way to Deputy Manager – so the second in command.
I then went on to manage a restaurant called The Souk Kitchen in North Street and I was there for a year and a half as a manager before moving on to Bosco Italian in Clifton, I was their Assistant Manager for two years.
Q: How did you return to City of Bristol College
A: I was at a Chefs’ Forum event where the students happened to be serving and I went with my work. I met my tutor from the time, Miriam Garstang, who bumped into me and was asking how things were going and making small talk.
She asked me if I was enjoying it and the next thing I know she mentioned the College was looking for someone and that was how it started.
Q: When did you start back at the College?
A: I started on 1 December 2019 and I am really enjoying it. I feel like I have definitely come back into it than it being a whole new job. It is nice to see familiar faces in Tomi and Ryan and some other staff were here back then.
Teaching is a whole new thing for me and I am enjoying it. There are a lot of things to learn beforehand and it is testing my organisation skills. I am doing my Level 5 in Education and Training thanks to the College. We are now into week six every Monday night and it is really good. In a dream world I would have had that first before going into teaching but I am learning on the job and gaining experience. The support I am receiving from my teacher, Sue Foote, has been amazing.
Q: How does it feel teaching students who are in
the same position you were once in?
A: I don’t feel much older than them and I have been where they are now and, with that in mind, I feel like I can speak to them in a way where I can share my experiences to help them on their career paths.
Q: Where do you see your career going from here?
A: So, I am really enjoying the change of pace and the path I have taken. I see it as a great career move for me and I think I am looking forward to starting the new academic year and being able to make the most of the summer period to properly plan and prepare everything for the new cohort of students in September.