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Daisy Glasper

Level 3 Culinary Arts

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Daisy Glasper

Newcastle College has supported me so much over the last few years, especially with all the competitions I’ve participated in!

I've had so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had without studying at Newcastle College; whether that be the tutors taking the class to Dublin to experience many different food outlets and history or us going to Malta for a two week work experience placement. We got the chance to work across the country in restaurants, hotels and outside catering venues - it’s been amazing. I couldn’t have had a more positive experience.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?

I did my A-Levels locally to me just before and during COVID, with plans to be an Army medic or nurse. Obviously after COVID, those plans fell through a bit, and I wanted to do something just for fun instead. I studied Professional Patisserie at Newcastle College last academic year, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought it would, so I stayed on to study Professional Cookery this year and I’m going to Step Up at the end of this year to study a Foundation Degree in Culinary Arts.


How did you hear about Newcastle College? Did you attend an Open Day prior to starting at the College? If so, did you find it useful?

My brother went to Newcastle College before me. He was studying Law, Policing and Protective Services, not Hospitality and Catering so there wasn’t loads he could tell me about the course, but he had positive feedback about his experience as a student here! I also knew about the College just by word-of-mouth anyway since it’s a big presence in the area and I’m local, but really it was just me looking to do anything I could after COVID just to get back into education again.

I attended an Open Day at the very start of my course, which massively helped when I met some of my tutors and coursemates, as well as getting a more general view about what I would study, the facilities and what the course would be about. It felt much better after so long in COVID to ask questions face-to-face!


What made you decide to come to the college and enrol on the course you selected?

Honestly, I wanted to study a course that was something a bit fun that would be free for me (since I was under 18 at the time), but like I said, I just enjoyed the course a lot more than I was expecting!


How would you describe the advice and support you received from college and your tutors? Have you had any support for our Central Support Team – Pastoral support?

I’ve had a massive range of support from my tutors both last year and this year in a real range of areas. They’ve helped me out no matter what I’ve done, especially going from just Pastry to General Cookery, everyone on my current course has had either one or two years of General Cookery but I’ve had none, and my preference for pastry cookery means all of my placements have been in pastry kitchens, so I’ve had a massive amount of support, it’s been amazing! My tutors have always supported me, whether that be signing me up for competitions or taking me down to London for shows or events, and it’s been an amazing opportunity that I wouldn’t have had without studying at Newcastle College!

I haven't had any support from the CSS team while I’ve been here. But I do know where to go for support if I ever needed it – there’s so much support here!


Do you have any tutors who have industry experience? If so, how has this helped you?

Yes, I can tell you exactly what they’ve done! They all have experience in certain industries: last year, one of my tutors was in the Royal Navy for a long time; others have worked in various restaurants, including some in Spanish City where I used to have placements, so I actually knew them before I even started on their courses! That kind of exposure really helped me to learn about different aspects of the industry. For example, I was particularly interested in my tutor who worked as a Royal Navy chef since I still want to join the armed forces eventually, just because I’ve had that rare insight into it now, and I understand better how valuable and attractive a Royal Navy career can be.


Did you look into financial support available from the college? If so what were they and how did they help?

No, I haven’t this year, but I’ll definitely be looking into the student loan offers from Newcastle College University Centre next year when I apply for the Foundation Degree in Culinary Arts.


Have you overcome any challenges while on your course? If so how has the college helped you?

Not that I can think of! The main challenge was moving into quite a big class with other students having one-to-two years of experience in General Cookery by that time, while I didn’t really have a cookery background outside of pastry, so it was a bit daunting feeling like I lacked this basic knowledge of everything that I should have known by that point. However, I’ve got to say that the level of support I received from both tutors and classmates was unreal throughout my time as a student so far.


What do you/did you enjoy most about your course?

The opportunities to compete in national cookery competitions have been fantastic! They asked me at the start of the year whether I wanted to sign up to compete, especially since I didn’t have the formal training of my classmates by that point, but I just told them to sign me up since I don’t back down from a challenge, and I’m so grateful that I did! I ended up qualifying for three different competitions, which has been insane and a lot of hard work, but it’s been so much fun and really rewarding! I actually won the gold medal in my first competition, which was amazing, and then I did the Top Door competition the other week, for which I qualified for the heats, and finally I have the national WorldSkills UK competition coming up in a few weeks, so I’m very excited to give them my best shot!


How do you feel that the course has/is benefitting you?

Just with going into industry. Obviously, you learn a lot when you’re in placements, but being in Newcastle College, around everyone who’s had a different level of industry experience in an array of fields within the cookery and catering sector has been a really enlightening experience. There are 16 of us in my class and everyone has a different job within the industry, so the insight into all the kind of jobs I could be in – it’s not just ‘You’re a chef, that’s it’, there are all sorts of kitchens I could work in for the Royal Navy, the Army or more generally in restaurants.


Have you done any work experience or a work placement as part of your course?

Everywhere, really! Over the past couple of years I feel like I’ve been so many places, and I’ve learnt something different from each one. Last year I was pastry-focused, so I worked in Fenwick’s in Newcastle and in Patisserie Valerie in Spanish City, which was incredible, that was one of my favourite placements and I’d love to go back there at some point! Last November, for my General Cookery placement, I worked at Café 21 in town, but I’ve actually been employed there as a part-time job for a while now, so I work there on my placements on Tuesdays but also at the weekend, so normally I’m on the food preparatory side of it – I’ve done stints in the larder and in vegetable prep, which I’ve enjoyed because it’s challenged me to develop or expand on different skillsets than the skills I’ve used before.

In terms of finding and securing my placements, I had a lot of support from Newcastle College staff. They found a range of local service providers who needed trainee staff, placed us with different businesses and restaurants, and then we would have a trial shift to make sure we got on with our colleagues and they clicked with us. If that worked out, we could continue our employment there. For Café 21 though, I had to have a full interview process because they insisted on treating our placements as a professional job, which I think is a good policy because it made me think more about how to present myself professionally throughout the application process. We don’t normally get paid on placements, but I was paid for my work at Café 21, so after the term ends at Newcastle College I have the opportunity to stay on as a full-time employee, which is amazing!


What would you like to do when you finish your course? Would you consider studying a degree at Newcastle College University Centre?

Aside from going into the Royal Navy, I’ve sort of planned for other options but not really? I know I have the next two years for my Foundation Degree at Newcastle College University Centre, then I hope to progress onto getting a Bachelors Degree (Top-Up) because I’d like to stay in education as long as possible, but also to have the best qualifications possible when I leave. To my mind, once I’m in there, I might as well stay on since it’s quite hard to get back into education once you leave. I plan to look around a bit once I graduate, but I want to stay at Café 21 for the entirety of my degree studies at Newcastle College University Centre, then progress into the Royal Navy or the Army and see what opportunities that brings, then hopefully establish my own business, ideally a café, patisserie or bakery of some kind. For the minute I’m hoping to set up a business in or around Newcastle itself, but the final destination will ultimately depend on wherever I end up with the Royal Navy!


What would you say to anyone thinking of studying a course with Newcastle College?

Go for it! Take whatever is thrown at you! I know this sounds like the most cliché piece of advice to say, but if you get offered an opportunity, take it immediately because you’ll never get these opportunities while working. If you go straight into work after GCSEs, you can build a good career, but you’ll miss out on the experiences and new horizons that can come through college life. Newcastle College has supported me so much over the last few years with these opportunities, especially since all the competitions I’ve done and placements I’ve worked on in the last few years look incredible on my CV, so it’s just a great feeling to have to know that I’ve achieved so much during my years at Newcastle College. I couldn’t have had a more positive experience.


Top tips

Do work as soon as you get it – it’s cliché, but the work builds up so quickly if you procrastinate so you need to manage yourself effectively. That sense of self-discipline is especially applicable to Culinary Arts because you have time plans, little bits of work as well as big assignments to manage.

Take advice that’s given to you – many lecturers will give you tips on how to improve, so always listen to them, since they wouldn’t be doing the job if they didn’t want to help you to improve.

Always arrive early – if you’re getting public transport, you’re always better off being forty minutes early than ten minutes late, since it gives the College staff and your employers a good impression of your work ethic. This is especially true if you get the bus in, since getting the bus that arrives ‘just on time’ really means you’ll be arriving 15 minutes late due to traffic.