The Old Grammar School Campus, Newport: 01983 533926 | Riverbank Campus, Newport : 01983 824930 | Lakeside Campus, Portsmouth: 02392 374752


Fiona Steel: Professional Cookery

“Sharing my passion and inspiring others is my motivation”

What made you join the HTP team?

I started my career in the catering industry, before working in retail management and recruitment, and travelling around America. I returned to it about 13 years ago and set up the cookery programme for our local Pupil Referral Unit, which helps young people who, for a variety of reasons, may not be in mainstream education. It was massively rewarding, and I was so proud that we twice won stages in the Jamie Oliver national competition.

I joined the HTP family just over a year ago now and I’m loving it. There’s a great atmosphere and it’s so rewarding working with the young people to help them discover a love of food, too.

What was school like for you?

I grew up in Sussex and moved to the Island when I started secondary school. I loved school – not surprisingly my favourite subjects were ‘domestic science’ (that’s cookery to you and I) and Art. I really loved my teachers in these subjects, and it was this along with having no idea what I wanted to do when I left school that inspired me to go on and study catering at College.

Who inspires you?

Hmmm… now that is a tricky one! The women in my family have always been great cooks, and I have always admired my Grandmother and my Mother for the way in which they always have had such a positive outlook on life, and always thought of others before themselves. Professionally, I’d say I have always been greatly inspired by my college tutor, Stuart, who later went on to be a mentor of mine. He always encouraged me, and it’s thanks to him that I landed my first ‘proper job’ as a Junior Chef at a 5-star hotel in Bournemouth.

Tell us a bit about the courses that you teach

I teach the General Cookery and Level 1 Professional Cookery courses. They’re both practical and hands-on, with the General Cookery programme focusing on cooking (…and eating) healthy food options. It’s a lot of fun and it also provides opportunities for learning skills that will last a lifetime. My professional cookery group focuses more on developing the skills and knowledge to enter the professional cookery industry. We look at kitchen and food safety and cooking methods, as well as the theory behind each of the methods.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

There are two pieces of advice that I’ve never forgotten and rely on every day: “respect is not a thing that comes through how much money you earn, or how important you are, respect is something earned through the things you do and the way you live”, and “you shouldn’t need to boast about your abilities, if they are good enough, people will do the talking for you”.

Tell us what you love the most about your sector

I’ve always had a passion for cooking (and eating…. as my waistline frequently reminds me). Working with young people, sharing that passion and teaching them how to do it themselves is the perfect combination. Building those positive relationships with students makes my job very rewarding… and very fun! And, although everyone says it, there’s nothing better than seeing the confidence and self-esteem of a young person grow and develop. Knowing that you are helping them to learn new skills and develop a passion of their own gives me great joy!

Tell us about a day in the life of your role at HTP

Teaching a practical course means that a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen, but there’s also a lot of research and preparation involved – so you’ll often find me with my head in a recipe book or researching online. I like to theme my classes, so we’ll make foods that relate to a certain cuisine, or celebrate a particular occasion, such as ‘National Pie Week’ or ‘World Pasta day. I also arrange visits for my groups to underpin their knowledge of the industry, such as a visit to a butchery or a restaurant. Alongside this, I’m also responsible for making sure my students get the support they need, both personally and from an education perspective, so I work closely with our maths and English tutors, too.

Why learn with US?
  • Rated 'Good' by OFSTED;
  • Industry-experienced tutors;
  • Great facilities, centrally located in Newport Isle of Wight and Portsmouth;
  • Smaller group sizes, with personalised 1-to-1 support.
How is HTP different to school and other colleges?

The main difference between learning with us compared to school or other colleges is that we give you the flexibility to learn in a way that works for you.

Our full-time courses blend classroom learning with practical work experience in a real company giving you the opportunity to bring your learning to life in an industry setting.

Our apprenticeships are a great route directly into working life. You can start earning a real salary right away and fast-track your career options by working in-house as part of a team. You'll be supported by one of our expert Training Consultants, alongside the day-to-day guidance of your employer.

Whichever route you take, our promise is that we put you and your needs first, so you'll always have the support you need to succeed.

Sounds good. How do i find out more?

Give us a call on 01983 533926 or fill in your details here and one of the team will be in touch soon.

Call us now • IoW: 01983 533926 • Portsmouth: 02392 374752

Or message us and we’ll contact you

Data consent

11 + 3 =