Woodland Grange chef wins Mentor of the Year title in People 1st National Apprenticeship Awards 2015

Matthew Parsons, executive chef at EEF Venues’ Woodland Grange conference centre in Leamington Spa, has been named Mentor of the Year in the People 1st National Apprenticeship Awards 2015. The news was announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 26th February at the House of Commons.

Matthew was short-listed with Rhiannon Ball from the Lancaster London Hotel, and he was selected as winner because of his outstanding work in mentoring and developing young people at the AIM gold accredited Warwickshire venue.  He has mentored six apprentices to date at Woodland Grange, two of whom are now full-time staff members at the venue.
His nominator, David Vaughton, director of venues for EEF Venues, said: ” We feel incredibly proud of Matthew for gaining such national recognition. For Matthew, there are no short-cuts as consistent quality is everything. ‘Do it well, do it right’ is his mantra so he instils high standards in his apprentices from the outset.
“95% of our food served at Woodland Grange is made from scratch by our brigade – a tangible indication of the training apprentices receive in classical culinary skills and methods such as how to make a classic roux, how to skin and bone a fish and make a consommé  – many of which have disappeared in kitchens due to convenience foods.”
Matthew said: “I am very proud of this award as it is embodies my belief in training and developing the next generation of chefs. It is wonderful to be acknowledged in this way by such a respected national awards programme.”

Simon Tarr, People 1st managing director, said: “These awards promote the industry as a great place to work, highlight the value apprentices can offer, and celebrate those who play an essential role in supporting apprentices on their chosen career path. The passion and enthusiasm of everyone involved – the young people, their employers and those who came to support them points to a great future in our industries.”
Bryan Anderson, team leader for work-based learning at Stratford upon Avon College, said: ‘We have worked with Matthew Parsons for many years delivering successful hospitality apprenticeships at Woodland Grange. His passion for the industry and desire to develop the next generation of chefs is clearly demonstrated by the time and commitment he commits to the candidates.“
In the lead-up to National Apprenticeship Week (9th-13th March),  Matthew has been invited to take part in a campaign by Warwickshire County Council to raise awareness of the benefits to businesses of taking on apprentices.

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Woodland Grange offers the best of all worlds – a rich heritage dating back to Victorian times with contemporary facilities ranging from complimentary, superfast internet access to a state-of-the-art fitness room, sauna and Jacuzzi.

Food at Woodland Grange is fresh, seasonal and locally sourced, brought to you by our craft-skilled executive chef and his brigade. For a memorable fine dining experience choose to dine in our Lawns Restaurant, or our Oak Room is also available for private fine dining.

Our 114 en-suite bedrooms have recently been refurbished to provide a relaxing and luxurious night’s sleep. Many enjoy lovely views over the Warwickshire countryside and all feature flat screen plasma TVs, tea & coffee making facilities and much, much more.

We couldn’t ask for a better location for Woodland Grange. Set in 16 acres of unspoilt grounds, we are at the heart of rural Britain yet the M6, M40, M42 and M69 motorways are all within a 20 minute drive away. It’s a perfect base from which to explore the many nearby attractions.