Fresh dining destination gives students a taste of the industry

RISING STAR Hot prospect Elise Lazarus with Mr Payne's partner Ina Herridge

A NEW luxury restaurant has been launched in the town – but its priorities are set on educating the next generation rather than turning a quick profit.

Located on the third floor of West Kent College’s Brook Street campus, The Artisan will see cookery students working alongside professional chefs to create ‘modern English cuisine with a Kent feel’.

The restaurant, which forms part of the Hadlow Group, will be serving on weekday lunchtimes as well as Thursday evenings, aiming to provide a ‘fine-dining experience at affordable prices’.

There are 40 students enrolled across Level 1 and 2 Catering Hospitality Courses, alternating weekly between food preparation and waiting.

On the opening night [January 12] the Deputy Group Principal, Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, said: “We have a fabulous team here to make sure these students get the best commercial experience.

“We’re also building on our philosophy of commercial opportunity for our current students, as well as ex-students – in fact, one of our alumni, Darren Fry, is now the Head Chef.

“This is about a unique dining experience, where students will learn commerciality, the key skills required to be successful in this industry and the ability to deliver an outstanding experience for the diners.

“We want them to be the best – the award-winning restaurateurs of the future.”

The college has formed a partnership with Rosemary Schrager’s Cookery School in Tunbridge Wells to increase the number of apprenticeships in the area.

West Kent College has a history of producing success in the catering world. Its alumni include Michelin-starred restaurateur Mark Sergeant and Chris Tanner, former commis chef at Le Gavroche, now co-owner of the Kentish Hare in Bidborough.

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