Former UCB student Tom Price, who was made head chef of a Wiltshire hotel and restaurant just three-and-a-half months after finishing his course, has graduated with a first in Culinary Arts Management BA (Hons).
And he says he has Birmingham’s burgeoning food scene to thank for landing the prestigious role at The Marlborough – a 15th century inn packed with old world charm.
Tom explained: “Apart from London, there probably isn’t a food culture anywhere else in the UK as good as Birmingham – at present, there are four restaurants with Michelin stars and many other excellent places including Harborne Kitchen, where many of my UCB friends worked at some point.
“My UCB training alone probably stands me head and shoulders above most chefs around the area that I now work, but the high standard of employment gained at restaurants in Birmingham that are of Michelin star standard really makes you stand out.”
Tom became a sous chef at The Marlborough on leaving UCB and was promoted to head chef less than four months later.
He explained: “The pub was pushing for its first AA Rosette when the previous head chef walked out just before a busy Saturday dinner service. I was then given a two-week trial as they decided whether or not they needed to advertise for a new one.
“I smashed it and I’m now learning how to be a head chef as we go along. Whether we are still going to aim towards an AA Rosette remains to be seen, but it is something I would like to achieve in the future as I see myself working here for a long stint.
“I had the goal of landing a sous chef position upon graduating, but becoming head chef has happened about two years earlier than planned. It is proof that if you approach your career with the right mentality and ambition, anything can happen.”
Since taking on his new role at The Marlborough, Tom has made a number of changes in the kitchen.
He added: “Before I started, we were buying in a few things including bread. I was given the freedom to experiment and I feel that I have been able to improve the quality of the food we serve. There is a Chef’s Special side of the menu and I have full creative control over this, working with my sous chef in creating new dishes.”
Find out more about courses at UCB’s College of Food.