Catering students at Coleg Menai were delighted to find themselves cooking alongside a renowned chef recently, whilst preparing a special three-course meal to raise funds for a local food festival.

Chef Aled Williams - also a former Coleg Menai student - came back to the kitchens at Bwyty Friars Restaurant in Bangor to lead the students, and helped them to prepare and serve a lavish Gala dinner for members of the public to support this year's Caernarfon Food Festival.

Diners were treated to a glass of fizz and canapés before sitting down to the special meal, with independent merchants Iechyd Da from Caernarfon also present, offering a large range of Welsh craft ale and cider, and quality wine and beer.

Since leaving the college, Aled has enjoyed a busy and exciting time. He won the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship in 2006 and went on to work for Ramsay in London and New York, before training with Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck. He also represented Wales on BBC2's Great British Menu in 2010 and was the youngest chef to ever be crowned regional champion on the show.

He then fulfilled a career dream by opening his own restaurant, Cennin on Anglesey as well as a deli-café and butchery business called Moo Baa Oinc, before joining the team at the highly-acclaimed Northcote hotel in Lancashire.

After the event, Aled said:

I was thrilled to be back at Coleg Menai, because this is where it all started for me. The college gave me a thorough grounding in catering and hospitality, and helped me on my way to a successful career. I really enjoyed working with the students on this event - they were extremely focused and enthusiastic, and a credit to the college. The dinner itself went beautifully, and it was great to see that the college's standards are as high as they have always been.

Coleg Menai Customer Services Programme Manager Frances Davies added:

It was fantastic to welcome Aled back to the college kitchens, and being led by such a successful chef was an invaluable experience for our students. Not only do they gain useful hints and tips from working with someone so knowledgeable, but they also see first-hand what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

Coleg Menai offers a range of qualifications, including degrees, in a wide number of subjects.

If you need more information on any of our courses, please visit the courses section of our website at www.gllm.ac.uk/courses or contact our course advice line on 01248 383333.