My story Samantha Rain
Professional Cookery Level 2 Diploma

Samantha Rain
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Hello my name is Samantha Rain, I am 26, I studied Hospitality and Catering at South Essex College and this is my story.

When I was at school I did my work experience at Unilever. They let me put my own desert on for the day and everyone said that they really liked it and I knew that I wanted to be a pastry chef from there. I looked at all the nearby Colleges and the courses they were doing and decided that South Essex College was the best one for me.

It was a great experience; I learnt a lot of things, met a lot of people, learnt new techniques and gained a lot of knowledge about cooking in general. It was only later when I went on to work in restaurants that I decided to specialise in key areas. I still look back and speak to the people that I met and the teachers, I had a really good time.

When I left College I went to work for a restaurant in Hertfordshire, the Auberge du Lac, I was there six months and they gained their first Michelin star, so I went on to stay there for a further three years, always in the pastry kitchen as that was area that I wanted to specialise in. After I left my last restaurant I decided that I wanted to be a chocolatier. I went to do  a course with Mark Tilling and when I finished I got a job at a chocolate factory in London. While I was there I decided to enter myself into The UK Junior Chocolate Masters Competition and in 2014 I became the UK Junior Chocolate Master.

In 2016 I competed in a competition with Mark Tilling and Helen Vass and we did the Bake Off Creme de la Crème. The whole Bake Off experience was a massive eye-opener. There were massive highs and massive lows. What I will take from it is everyone we met; all the judges, all the other teams, in fact everyone was so encouraging and we all got on really well which I thought was really nice. There was no egos, no one was out to get each other. It was just quite fun, and hard as it was you have to have an element of fun as well.

I met Mark originally back when I originally wanted to be a chocolatier. He was the first person to teach me my chocolate work, so from there we became really good friends and we have just always kept in contact. When the Bake Off came up he rang me and asked me to be on his team. I was a bit like, “of all the people in the UK you can ring, why have you rung me?” It was really daunting actually but we went on to win the series which was amazing.

At the moment I am a development chef for HB ingredients. I look at all the Sosa products which is a brand our company distributes. I go out and give demonstrations, I work on new recipes, I work with all the new products and at the minute that is massive for me. There is so much potential at HB Ingredients, at the moment I am focussing all my efforts to stay there.

I would say to anyone who was looking for a career in catering that it is hard, and it can be a difficult career, and there will be good days and bad days. But if you persevere and have a passion for it, it really can take you a long way and open up some brilliant doors.

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Stand out with a course at South Essex College #Basildon #Southend #Thurrock

My story Scott Rose
Computer Games Development Level 3 Extended Diploma

Scott Rose
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Hello my name’s Scott I’m 25, I studied Games Design at South Essex College and this is my story.

My background is in design. I worked a lot doing web design, IT and I had a keen interest in designing levels for video games such as Half Life and Counterstrike which got me into architectural scale, architectural design and the construction of various shapes. I thought I would do a course that included both my interests so I ended up doing games design.

I very much enjoyed my time at the College, I had a superb set of tutors and we went to Japan. I learnt a lot of skills which I have now transferred such as the ins and outs of all the Adobe packages. I learnt 3DMax and various programmes that I wouldn’t have had access to unless I had been to the College.

Since College I have worked in various sectors doing a bit of freelance design, web design, and a plethora of videography but no other jobs resonated with me as much as starting my own business and being my own boss. I now run my own company with my business partner George, called Hide and Shriek.

We design very bespoke odd and weird attractions. We have found our own little niche and we design and develop to increase footfall within shopping centre and leisure destinations. We have done this for the past year and it has gone from strength to strength and it is all based on using the key skills I developed while I was at College. We offer a range of immersive events catering for mostly trying to scare people and making them pay for the privilege. It is a niche but a lot of people enjoy it. We pride ourselves on providing London-level attractions in the Southend area. I am the creative director of the company and in charge of making sure that the design of projects all run to plan and to budget. I will start from the initial concept of what needs to be created, put it into Illustrator or CAD, draw a mock-up of how we want it to look, and then work out what’s required to then carry on and build.

One of the things I enjoyed most about studying at South Essex College was that the tutors worked so closely with industry and also worked in the industry themselves. For example one my tutors spent 25 years working within that sector so he had a very broad understanding of what was required and the College was constantly updating the programmes to progress with the industry.

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We're Creative & Cultural Skills Leadership College of the Month! Check out Paul Smith's (Head of Media and Performing Arts) blog about connecting with industry

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