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Press release

Hospitality Academy students get all fired up over flambé

Five East Lothian school pupils were all fired up last night when they joined the cream of Scotland’s culinary talent for a glittering award ceremony in Glasgow.

The pupils, who are students of the East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy, won bronze awards at the National Culinary Championships, a Scothot 2013 trade only exhibition held at the SECC in March.

All five pupils won bronze medals at the ‘Restaurant Flambé class – a great achievement considering the youngsters were up against more mature entrants, many of whom were already working in the hospitality industry. This week (25 th March 2013), the students travelled to Glasgow to receive their awards from hospitality industry experts at a showcase celebratory dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Ron McGilp, East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy Coordinator, said: “It was a lot of pressure for the Academy students. They’re only in 5 th year at school but were competing against college students and other professionals who are working under some of Scotland’s most well-respected chefs. The winner of the competition was from Gleneagles Hotel, so that gives some indication as to the level of the competition.”

The students, who came from Ross High School (Tranent), Preston Lodge High School (Prestonpans) Musselburgh Grammar, achieved bronze awards in the Restaurant Flambé class. The competition involved them cooking and presenting two portions of a flambé main course and two portions of a sweet in just 30 minutes.

Ron McGilp said: “We are incredibly proud of the East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy students. For the students to be recognised at this level by an industry professional body is a significant achievement and shows just how far they have come in only eight months of Academy training.”

The East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy is a pioneering partnership between Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh College and East Lothian Council. As well as raising standards across Scotland’s hospitality and tourism industries, the initiative aims to expose 16 - 18 year old pupils to the wealth of opportunities that exist within the industries and help them develop knowledge and skills which will allow them to move seamlessly to college, university or industry, depending on their aspirations.

Thirty four pupils from three East Lothian secondary schools have been the first pupils to take part in the Academy initiative. Throughout the two year programme, students have the opportunity to take both practical and academic classes at Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh College whilst also having practical placements at Academy partner hotels. The school pupils all volunteered to be part of the Academy - a commitment which is over and above their full school timetable.

A major success of the Academy project has been the total buy-in of partner hotel groups such as Marriott Hotels, The Point, Archerfield, Prestonfield House, Novotel, Macdonald Hotels and the Caledonian Waldorf Astoria. These hotel groups are instrumental in exposing the youngsters to the workings of the industry by providing placement and hands-on event opportunities. The enthusiasm of the hotel groups is also about creating a dynamic young workforce which is fit for purpose – a ready-made source of young talent equipped with the right skills and knowledge to hit the ground running when entering the industry.

In less than a year, the East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy is viewed as a programme that has the potential to deliver real solutions for Scotland’s young people. The Scottish Funding Council has pledged £4.6million to roll out the Academy model to other areas of the Lothians and the Borders, making new Academies available in food industries, the creative industries and healthcare. The new funding will see up to 1200 young people benefit from new skills development. The project could revolutionise how young people access education, training and employment, and it is hoped that it will raise pupils’ aspirations, enhance employability and support Scotland’s economic development in key areas of growth. The new Academies are set to launch in autumn 2013.


The award winning Academy students who took part in Scothot were:

  • Liam Riley and Beth Whitson (Ross High School)
  • Jake Lavery (Preston Lodge High School)
  • Lauren Cain and Megan Rush (Musselburgh Grammar)
  • List all Academy partner institutions: Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, Marriott, Best Western Edinburgh Capital Hotel, Archerfield House, Novotel, Mercure, Jurys Inn, Fraser Suites Edinburgh, Point Hotel Edinburgh, Prestonfield and The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Press and PR Officer, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, tel: 0131 474 0000, mob: 07711 011239, Email:


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