Culinary arts go global at Buxton thanks to transatlantic partnership

10 November 2016

A partnership with one of America’s best known resort chains is giving University of Derby students the global experience they need in today’s competitive world of culinary arts.

Nando Belmonte, Executive Chef for Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando™ in Florida, came to the Buxton Campus to give a masterclass on the wide range of catering that customers demand from top-class destinations.

A dozen students from Buxton work in Loews resorts across the States each year thanks to a partnership set up by Culinary Arts Lecturer Leonard Cseh, earning as they learn how to prepare the best in styles ranging from fast food to fine dining.

“They have real-life experience rotating through the kitchens,” said Chef Belmonte, who has won numerous culinary awards and is an active member of the American Culinary Foundation.

Big banqueting halls and 1,000-room resort hotels present a different market to the UK: “You need to think globally and give yourself the opportunity to be exposed to different markets.

A chef and students

“Coming over to the States is a great idea because it’s one of the biggest markets in the world,” he said.

“When you think globally as a culinarian, it also means that you do not have to become an executive chef. Your career in the food industry can take many avenues and bring with it many adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

That’s something which second year Culinary Arts Foundation Degree undergraduate Rosie Maguire discovered last year when she worked at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal  Orlando.

“It was a really full rotation of the very different outlets in the establishment,” she said. “It was such an amazing variety of experiences with food for all different specifications and customers.

“There’s a whole different cuisine for the poolside bar than in the signature restaurant, but it was really good to do every single different one and to learn all of the skills required.”

And the experience helps students get jobs when they graduate, said Leonard.

He added: “All the chefs I speak to say we must be doing something right because our students are showing passion and dedication. Every one of them said they would employ them immediately.”