County chef Nick vows to provide apprenticeships for local students

The Churchill Arms proprietor Nick Deverell-Smith with apprentice Matthew Young
The Churchill Arms proprietor Nick Deverell-Smith with apprentice Matthew Young

A former Kenilworth apprentice says he is determined to provide greater employment opportunities for young people in rural communities, now he has his own successful business.

Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Nick Deverell-Smith, who learned his trade in Kenilworth, has recently rewarded one of his own former apprentices with a much-sought-after full-time post.

Nick said: “I was an apprentice myself. I had the opportunity to train at Simpsons in Kenilworth, in my opinion the best restaurant in the area, under some fantastic chefs such as Glynn Purnell. I think there’s no better way than learning on the job.”

County-born, Nick, now Head Chef and proprietor of boutique pub The Churchill Arms in the village of Paxford, decided to hire an apprentice through Stratford-upon-Avon College in October.

He added: “I always wanted to own my own restaurant. When I left school I wasn’t very confident at all but here I am now. To be able to give that opportunity to other young people is hugely rewarding.”

Nick, who won Junior Chef of the Year in 2000 and has worked under both Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, turned to the College’s Work-Based Learning Team to arrange and advertise the apprenticeship.

“When I opened The Churchill Arms, I got in touch with Stratford College to perform some catering demonstrations for the students, and I was very impressed with the standard of chefs they were producing. So they were the obvious choice when it came to choosing an apprenticeship training provider.”

The apprenticeship was eagerly snapped up by 17-year-old Matthew Young.

He said: “I definitely feel I learnt faster than I would have on a full-time course. I also got to practice my skills a lot more often. I was able to send my work to a customer and get their feedback instantly which was very helpful.”

The experience of developing an apprentice with the College has proved beneficial to Nick. He added: “An apprentice needs time and patience but Matthew runs a whole section for me now - I can actually take a day off work now which wasn’t possible before.”

“I’m looking to recruit at least one other apprentice which will reinforce my team even further. Matthew will be the gold standard for any new apprentices I have.”