John Cairns - The Weston

February 7, 2022 - Emma McIlvanney

John Cairns came to college straight from school and studied courses in Food Preparation and Cooking and Hospitality Management. He now owns ‘The Weston Tavern’ in Kilmaurs, which is one of East Ayrshire’s top TripAdvisor venues. Here he tells us how his time at college helped him to achieve success and get to where he is today…

“School wasn’t for me, so I left to study Food Preparation and Cooking at college. I wanted to be a Chef and I knew that the developing the right practical skills was the best way to achieve my ambition.

It was all new to me but the lecturers made everyone feel very welcome and at ease. I liked the way we were treated. I was young, 16 during my first course, but I was treated like an adult. I respected my lecturers and I felt that they respected me.  

The Food Preparation and Cooking course involved practical cooking days as well as theory – it gave me a strong foundation for working within a kitchen. The HNC and HND in Hospitality Management provided me with more knowledge about how a hospitality operation works including accounts, payroll, management and marketing. I enjoyed the additional tasks such as cooking demonstrations and my highlight was being invited to speak at an ‘Engaging Learners’ lecture by the Head of Hospitality. I was very proud to be offered that opportunity.

I gained many skills, and not just how to cook and manage others, but core skills that I use daily and will use for the rest of my life.

I now own ‘The Weston’ which is doing very well. We have gone from strength to strength and won numerous awards. My plans are to keep growing and hopefully expand our services to include accommodation. Community is so important – ours really supported us through the pandemic, so we’ll continue to give back to them. We’re also helping to develop and grow the next generation of hospitality workers through our apprenticeship program.

Ayrshire College is a fantastic, modern learning environment where you’ll get the support you need to reach your potential. My time there really helped me to develop as a person and become the man that I am today.”

If you're interested in pursing a career in Hospitality or Professional Cookery we have a wide selection of courses to help you on your way!

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