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Michael teaching the stars to cook… Raymond Blanc-style

The former Coleg Menai student is head tutor at Raymond Blanc’s Cookery School

Former Coleg Menai student Michael John has taught some of the world’s biggest stars to cook - including Stormzy, Kylie Minogue and David Beckham.

Michael is head tutor at Raymond Blanc’s Cookery School, having worked with the celebrity chef since finishing college 17 years ago.

While studying NVQ Level 3 Professional Food Preparation and Cookery, Michael had the opportunity through a contact at the college to complete a two-day trial at world-renowned hotel Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, where Raymond Blanc has trained more than 40 Michelin-star chefs.

After impressing during his trial, Michael has worked at the two-Michelin star establishment ever since. In his current role he has taught Raymond’s methods and philosophy to a wide variety of clients - including celebrities such as opera singer Katherine Jenkins and dance diva Jess Glynne.

“It’s teaching people from all walks of life,” he said. “Sometimes famous people - whoever wants to learn how to cook. You don’t know who you’ve got until they turn up.

“All the courses are based on Raymond’s books, teaching people things they can cook at home.

“You may teach the same thing a couple of days in a row, but it’s always different because the audience is different. I love it.

“It’s something I love to do, to share as much knowledge as I can, and that’s what Raymond is like. The way he teaches us is to understand the importance of nurturing people. It’s about training and nurturing, developing people and watching them grow.”

Michael has worked with Raymond on TV shows such as The Restaurant, Kitchen Secrets, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch, Good Food Show and Simply Raymond.

“Raymond is amazing,” he said. “He’s one of the most demanding people I’ve ever worked with, but he’s also the best boss I’ve ever had or ever will have. He’s very caring, and even now he just wants to improve on the things we’re doing every day.”

While at Coleg Menai, Michael worked at Poachers in Cricieth, the Pen y Bryn in Colwyn Bay and Michelin-star hotel The Chester Grosvenor. He took part in competitions at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, entered Chez Dudley on S4C, and enjoyed work experience trips to Italy and France, which inspired him to work with cuisines from other cultures.

Michael says the skills he learned at college gave him the foundation to succeed when faced with the daunting prospect of working for one of the world’s most accomplished chefs.

“When I came to Le Manoir for a trial, the first day was working with Raymond in the cookery school, which was scary,” he said.

“They wanted someone in the school very quickly, but said they’d hold on for me for six weeks while I finished college.

“You don’t realise it when you’re there, but it’s the foundation you get at college that’s so crucial.

“It’s important to get that time and spend three years learning things. I really enjoyed it, the whole three years, and without that base I wouldn’t have been able to come here and do what I did.

“College also exposes you to the industry and helps you broaden your horizons. My experiences working in France and The Grosvenor were so crucial, because after spending time in France I knew I wanted to go into French cooking, and after going to the Grosvenor I knew I wanted to go into fine-dining.

“I ended up working in French fine-dining - although it’s in Oxfordshire!”

Do you want to work in hospitality and catering? Click here to find out more about Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s courses