A while ago we attended a wonderful shellfish and wine workshop at Hospitality House and it only seems right to remind you what a great local amenity this is – whether you’re keen to learn some cookery basics, polish your culinary skills, explore grape varieties and wine regions or work professionally with food and drink.
Many of us pass it every day on the tube going through East Finchley, but this large building by the station houses a centre of excellence for the catering trade. Hospitality House was established in 2013 by Hilton Worldwide, People 1st, Compass Group, City & Guilds and McDonalds. The range of activities includes running professional chef courses and other qualifications required by the industry. The sizeable professional kitchen can be hired out and the meeting space is also available in this way. Hospitality House also works closely with Job Centres to help local residents find employment.
Consumer courses for the general public include workshops (like the seafood evening we attended) and fun events like children’s cookery sessions during the school holidays. They also organise private dinners and Christmas parties for clients and in the autumn they are launching a Wine Tasting Club. Students have found employment at The Ivy, Harrods, The Grosvenor, Firmdale Hotels, private club, Home House and Waitrose; corporate clients include Fullers, Heineken and Nestlé.
At the helm of Hospitality House is experienced chef Peter Tiley. He is passionate about the culinary arts and successfully manages a team of trainers to motivate, inspire and equip staff and students with the skills to adapt to current trends within the hospitality and retail industry. Tiley has over 20 years of experience in both hospitality and food retail and constantly strives to update his skills in order to tailor training that is endorsed by the industry. He makes sure that all the food created on our premises tastes outstanding.
Tomasz Szakola, with 17 years of experience in 4- and 5-star hotels and top-end hospitality and banqueting halls in the City of London, is the college’s service and wine specialist. He teaches Level 1 and Level 2 WSET wine courses and will also be leading the wine tasting club starting in the autumn.
Other staff include Maria O’Brian noted for her cake decorating workshops and Jackie Read who manages the kitchen. She ensures it is a safe place to work and learn, organised and fully stocked, and that the students and clients are well looked after.
In the autumn, as well as 34-week long Chef’s Diploma courses, there are one-day cake decorating workshops (£49) and for wine lovers or drinks professionals, Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses spread over three Thursdays or Fridays (£390).
During October half term is Pasta With Kids, a hands-on, fun-filled cookery session where a parent can cook with their child (ages 8 to 14). Young aspiring chefs and kids who have a passion for cooking are welcome. It runs from 10am until 2pm and costs £35 (price covers both parent and child).
What’s more, I do hope they run more food and drink workshops like the one we attended which was such a good night out. The best way to find out what’s coming up is via their Facebook page which links you through to their website to book places in advance.
Finally, it’s worth noting the scale of the catering and hospitality industry and the global opportunities it offers. In the UK it employs 2.4 million people across hotels, pubs, restaurants, takeaways, contract catering, private cheffing, campsites, festivals and events. It is continuing to grow and currently one in every 13 jobs is in catering and hospitality. Hospitality House is skillfully responding to this need and offers a great range of opportunities to people in and around Barnet.