Charleston Academy has been working in partnership with the Redcliffe Hotel in Inverness and the Five Star Loch Ness Lodge Hotel for three years now. The partnership was formed through the schools’ participation in Rotary International’s Young Chef of the Year Competition in 2011.
In this competition, pupils must prepare and present a three course meal for two. The standards expected in the competition are demanding.
In 2010, Charleston Academy pupil Catie Granger entered and won the Scottish Competition. This was an amazing accomplishment for Catie, but her success did not stop there. She then went on to win the UK Final to become the Rotary Young Chef of the Year 2011. That year we partnered with the Redcliffe Hotel in Inverness and Caitlin was mentored by Head Chef Chris MacSeveny. Caitlin won a trip to Italy following her win to learn more about Mediterranean cooking. Her prize also included a day-long cookery session with Michelin starred chef Phil Thomson at Auberge Du Lac. Since leaving school, Caitlin has been offered an apprenticeship with non other than Albert Roux OBE, and will work in Edinburgh, London and France as a result. Read more about Catie’s win on her sponsor’s website, Filippo Berio and also on the Highland Council website.
Following Catie’s success, the Home Economics department entered Garry Millard (then in S3) into the Regional and then National heats. Garry worked in close partnership with Mr Ross Fraser, Head Chef at the Loch Ness Lodge Hotel. The owner of the Loch Ness Lodge Hotel, Mr Scott Sutherland had suggested the partnership through his involvement with our local Loch Ness Rotary Club.
Ross visited Charleston Academy weekly to hone down menus and ingredients and then practice the dish with Garry before the regional heats in Aberdeen. Garry won the North of Scotland Regional Heat that year and then went on, following more practice with Ross, to win the Scottish Final.
Our Partnership with Loch Ness Lodge has evolved in other ways. Our Rural Skills pupils are hoping to establish a vegetable garden within the grounds of the hotel. Mr Sutherland also regularly donates raffle prizes for our Albert Roux Kitchen project, the most recent of which was two nights dinner, bed and breakfast at the hotel.