IT’S been a busy few years for former Brune Park Community School student Matt Hewitt.
Since leaving the Gosport school the 21-year-old has studied cookery at college and worked his way up to be head chef at an award-winning restaurant.
Yesterday, Matt returned to Brune Park to lead a cookery workshop and pass on his love of creating delicious dishes.
He said: ‘I want to encourage kids to become chefs because there’s a real shortage of young chefs out there.
‘It can be hard work, but it’s a fun trade and it’s a way of expressing who you are.’
Matt works at the Bakers Arms in Droxford, which has been awarded an AA rosette and a Michelin Bib Gourmand – a prize given to restaurants offering ‘good food at moderate prices’.
He taught a group of 30 Brune Park pupils how to make beef stroganoff.
One of them, 14-year-old Shuzeda Chowdhary, said: ‘I don’t want a career in cooking, but it’s a good hobby.
‘I like to cook mainly savoury dishes, like curries and pastries.
‘Pastries take quite a lot of time to do and a lot of skill.
A fun trade and it’s a way of expressing who you areMatt Hewitt
‘I like to show my skill in the kitchen.’
Fellow student Louis Regan, 15, said: ‘I’ve learned that it takes a variety of skills to make dishes, but teamwork is the most important thing. I’d like to be a chef.’
Pupil Ryan Ferguson, 12, said: ‘I’ve learned that you can make different things using different spices and that what you make doesn’t always have to be an unhealthy meal.’
Matt said he was pleased TV shows such as Masterchef and films like Burnt with Bradley Cooper showed the fun side of working in a kitchen.
He said his advice to any budding chefs was to ‘keep working hard and always go with your instinct’.
Food education subject leader Mikaela Milne said Matt’s visit was inspiring.
She said: ‘When we have a very successful ex-student like Matt come back it makes the subject more real for the students here today.
‘It helps them realise that these things can happen for them as well.’