Meet the Team

Paul Jerome Williams – Chef Lecturer

Having attended College, I undertook an apprenticeship at the Dragon Hotel Swansea during which time I successfully obtained a range of professional cooking/culinary qualifications.  I have travelled throughout Europe working in city centre hotels in Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen and Berlin where I gained vast experience in European cuisine and kitchen management.

I then travelled Bermuda where I worked in a Resort Hotel and gained further qualifications in hotel management before moving on to Sydney Australia where I continued to gain experience in a series of four star Hotels and restaurants.

I subsequently moved back to Swansea and worked at the Holiday Inn and Swansea Marriott Hotel as Executive Chef.  I was responsible for all aspects of the management of the kitchen which covered the main restaurant, bar, room service and banqueting facilities.

Whilst at the Swansea Marriott I successfully attained the NVQ assessor qualifications which has seen my progression into Lecturing at this College.  I am now a Chef Lecturer which includes coordinating our Level two programmes in Professional Cookery and Patisserie and Confectionary I am also part of the quality assurance team within the Hospitality Department. I am also part of the teaching team for VRQ Level 1 Hospitality and FDQ Level 1 Bakery.

The hospitality industry is an exciting and forever developing market from which I have gained knowledge and experience that I am pleased to  pass on to our students. Many of our students   then go on to enjoy successful and rewarding careers working in the local and national food industry.

I work with a highly professional dedicated team of experts and lecturers who seek to inspire and prepare students for professional and successful careers.

Area of expertise:

  • International cuisine
  • Kitchen management
  • Advanced food hygiene

 


Gareth Morgan – Lecturer

When I left school at 16 I went to work as an apprentice baker for a small family run business. The apprenticeship lasted 5 years, over this time I gained expert knowledge in craft bread production and flower confectionery work. I remained with the company for 21 years. During my apprenticeship I also attended Neath and Cardiff college, achieving my City and Guilds certificate and advanced certificate in bread making and flower confectionery.

After the family business closed I went to work for another family bakery, by this time I was concentrating on the celebration cake side of the business, during this time I went back to Neath college to complete the city and Guilds 7900 part 1 in advanced cake decoration and art and design, on achieving the award I then did part 2 at Cardiff college. By this time I had been appointed manager of the department, also in charge of training. This company won the title Welsh Baker of the year 5 times at the Swansea Bakery Exhibition, scooping up a number of trophies and prizes as well.

During my study of the 7900 course at this college, I was asked if I was invited to teach a number of hours each week. This being the start of my teaching career.

By the end of the 90s the bakery company I worked for closed and was asked to work for Jenkins Bakery in Llanelli. I accepted the offer and was manager of the celebration cake department producing 200 to 300 cakes a week. I worked for the company for 5 years and in 2008 I joined the college as a full time lecturer in bakery skills. I have been instrumental in the development of a number of bakery courses with the FDQ awarding body.

I also got the department involved with the Alliance of bakery students and trainees, this organisation helps students to gain employment in the baking industry and offers opportunities to attend courses all over the world. At the annual conference held at Alton Towers, our students have been very successful in their competitions, competing against entrants from all over the country and within Europe, our students have been successful in winning many trophies and gold, silver and bronze medals. The event is held over three days and is a marvellous experience for our students.

I enjoy my job and gain much satisfaction in passing on my skills to a new generation. I also help to take the College forward with the development of new courses and am enthusiastic towards supporting students as they enter the world of work.

Area of expertise:

  • Master Baker
  • Advanced  Sugar craft, confectionary and chocolate work
  • Wired sugared flowers and advanced cake decorating
  • Food manufacturing and bakery management

 


Helen Lavercombe – Lecturer and level 3 course coordinator

Having begun my career working within a busy snack bar and restaurant at the age of fourteen, my passion for the food and hospitality industry grew. Influenced by an experienced merchant navy chef who encouraged and mentored me towards my next path which was to join a catering college. Whilst undertaking my college training, I worked part time in a local a la carte restaurant alongside an acclaimed chef from London, eager to learn and digest as much knowledge as I possibly could. During my training I was one of only two students chosen to prepare and serve food to Princess Diana during the opening of the new scanner at the Princess of Wales hospital.

At nineteen the chef passed on the reins as head chef to me, which was an incredible experience that taught me that management was the next route to take. I then left to study at Birmingham’s Food College, which at the time was Britain’s number one college for food! I continued to work alongside my studies within a number of different establishments, the NEC, ICC, 5 star Thistle Hotel and 5 star Swallow Hotel, where I took a short break from cooking and worked front of house.

Once my studies come to an end, I decided that travel and worked in Scilly at a small family restaurant based in Palermo and at the 6 star Fairmount, Banff springs hotel in Alberta Canada.

This experience allowed me to cook and serve VIP and celebrity guests ranging from multi-millionaire oil barons from Texas to Janet Jackson, Rod Stewart and Bob Hope to name just a few.
On my return to the U.K, I joined Whitbread as a manager for Brewers Fayre based in Radyr Cardiff, a very busy family themed restaurant. My final position before entering my current role as chef lecturer, was unit manager and events manager for Granada. This gave me another form of hospitality experience, as this was based within factories such as Fords, Welsh Water and general post office.

Since joining this college, I have held the positions of Hospitality Assessor, Chef Lecturer and level 3 course coordinator. I also share the responsibility of managing our bakery shop, Blasus and coordinate the food preparation and production for our gastronomic and large scale events.

Area of expertise:

  • Advanced professional culinary cooking skills
  • Patisserie and confectionery
  • Food safety management and hygiene systems
  • Product development & gastronomy

 


Naomi Hillen – Programme Director HND/B.A. Degree Hotel and Catering Management

After completing my A levels in school I undertook a Batchelor of Arts Degree in Hotel and Catering Management at Brighton University. This was the beginning of an exciting career in the hospitality industry that has provided me with the experience of working in a number of different departments within a range of establishments including The Marriott Hotel in Rhode Island U.S.A. where I was a member of the V.I.P. concierge team and Compass Contract Catering where I was assistant manager at Standard Charter Bank in the City of London. I have also worked at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne and First Leisure Entertainment Company, participating in many outdoor catering events such as The Farnborough Air Show and serving the Red Arrows.

Fulfilling my ambition of always wanting to work in the hotel sector, I was appointed General Manager of a privately owned hotel situated in the Gower. The hotel comprised of 19 bedrooms, public bar and restaurant and 2 large conference and banqueting rooms where we specialised in weddings and large events. As well as overseeing the day to day operation of the hotel, I was responsible for budgeting, marketing, staff recruitment, staff training and development.

With a passion for the training and development aspects of my management position, I left the hotel to become a food and beverage assessor and restaurant manager at this college. After completing my P.G.C.E., I was promoted to the position of full-time lecturer and am now Programme Director for the H.E. programmes in Hotel and Catering.

Area of expertise:

  • Advanced front of house operations & customer service
  • Hotel management
  • Licencing & marketing

 


Andrew Lauder – Chef Lecturer

I was born in the Swansea Valley and before becoming a chef I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, during my last year of school, I took a weekend job helping out at weekends in the kitchen of a small local hotel.

This led to the hotel employing me through the “YTS” scheme and allowed me to study part time which I did, at this very college.

As a young commis chef, I joined the five star London Hilton on Park Lane and continued my training as a chef at Westminster College.  This was a great experience because it enabled me to totally immerse myself in the many areas of culinary fundamentals, techniques and responsibilities, whilst learning the values of kitchen etiquette and high standards.

I stayed in London for around fifteen years and have worked in all sectors of the industry, in large and high end corporately owned businesses as well as small independent Michelin starred establishments. As part of these kitchen brigades, I have gained an invaluable experience.

I returned to Swansea and set up my own restaurant, serving modern Welsh & European cuisine.  Achieving Michelin and Taste of Wales recognition, my restaurant was established as a destination local restaurant. From here I returned to the hotel sector working as Head Chef at Morgans Hotel Swansea and later joined The Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff.

I would describe my cooking style as good honest food, without too many bells, whistles, and frivolous garnishes! I like to create food that tastes good and is well presented, but also leaves you feeling like you have eaten! Seasonality, Providence, sustainability and animal welfare is very important to me.

Throughout my catering career I have found myself cooking in a variety of unusual settings, one of the most memorable would be cooking at the private home of a former Prime Minister and other dignitaries under the watchful eyes of armed guards! As a lecturer I am required to return to industry to keep up to date with trends which recently led me to work with a prestigious event company providing the catering for a society wedding at the Glanusk Park Estate Crickhowell with guests including senior members of the royal family.

My current position as chef lecturer enables me to pass on my knowledge to future professionals of our industry. This is something I find highly motivational and rewarding.

Area of expertise:

  • Menu development and costing
  • Culinary skills

Paul Pearce – Deputy Head of School

Having been a student here at the College, I achieved a range of professional kitchen, restaurant and supervisory qualifications, which led to me gaining 25 years of industry experience. After a period of being a young self-employed entrepreneur, providing an outside catering service, I pursued a career working in a number of restaurants and hotels including The Hilton and Marriott. I began working at the four star Swansea Marriott Hotel as a Senior Supervisor with the responsibility of overseeing the restaurant and bar. I was also responsible for training new staff and was later appointed to the role of Duty Manager, which gave me the experience of working across all departments including front desk, banqueting, events, housekeeping, bar and restaurant.

It was through my supervisory and management roles within the industry that I achieved the NVQ assessor qualifications which led me to a job role within a work based training company. This role involved assessing a range of hospitality qualifications across both front and back of house.

Since joining NPTC Group of Colleges, formally known as Neath College, I have held the positions of Hospitality Assessor, Restaurant/Hospitality Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and am currently Deputy Head of School.

The hospitality industry is a fast moving and dynamic industry that provides many exciting experiences. The employment opportunities are vast both locally, nationally and overseas. Many of our current and past students have gone onto enjoy long and successful careers working on cruise ships, in event management, hotels and restaurants. Some have even worked for royalty!

Working alongside my team of highly dedicated and professional industry experts and lecturers, we aim to inspire and prepare students so that they can enjoy the benefits of a long and successful career, working in such a fulfilling and professional industry.

Area of expertise:

  • Food & beverage service
  • Hospitality & hotel management
  • Health, safety & hygiene