On 7th February, more than a dozen pupils from Castle Douglas High School took over Mr Pook’s restaurant, with an introduction to cooking, serving and running a hospitality business. This event was organised by the Galloway Glens Scheme as part of its aim to encourage young people to consider planning their working futures here in Galloway.
Ed Pook, from Mr Pook’s Kitchen, said:
“It was a pleasure to look after a group of aspiring students From Castle Douglas High School and show them some of what it takes to run a restaurant. They cleaned, prepped, cooked and served which is the bulk of our working lives but also got to relax and have some fun, have some time with me demonstrating some more complex techniques and taste some of the items that they all helped prepare. My hope is that one or two got inspired to join our industry or at the very least not be intimidated by high end cooking, restaurants, chefs and maybe take some time to cook for themselves and their family.”
The class teacher, Castle Douglas High School’s Miss Barrick, added:
Firstly, I would like to thank Galloway Glens for funding such a fantastic work experience day for our students. The food industry can often be seen by many as a weekend or part time job. It was great for the students to realise that there are long term career opportunities with the hospitality industry. In Dumfries and Galloway the food and drink sector is one of the biggest employers and deserves promotion to the next generation of the workforce. The experience at Mr Pook’s restaurant was a great way to educate the students on the roles within a successful restaurant and how to source and cook with local, sustainable ingredients. It will have hopefully inspired them to look at the food and drink sector for future employment opportunities. Without the funding provided we would not have been able to provide the students with such a valuable experience.”
Jan Hogarth, Galloway Glens Education & Community Engagement Officer, said:
“Cooking School” at Mr Pooks aimed to help the hospitality industry in the area who often struggle to attract young people into the industry. It was way of sharing with our young people what it is like to work with such a passionate and creative chef in the “buzz” of an award winning restaurant. With subject choices being narrowed in the curriculum there is a real danger that our young people will miss the opportunity of a lifelong career in an industry that has so much to offer them. Even if they don’t want a career in hospitality, “Cooking School” offers young people valuable experience so they can secure work in the industry to support them financially through college or university. Perhaps even more importantly it highlights the health benefits of eating local sourced sustainable produce.”
The Galloway Glens Scheme is a 5-year project based in the Stewartry region of Dumfries and Galloway. The scheme is an initiative of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team, funded by a range of partners including the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Scheme aims to connect people to their heritage and to support modern rural communities. www.gallowayglens.org.