Experienced, Professional, Passionate
Our team of chef tutors are accomplished, professional chefs with a wealth of industry experience between them with experience ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to contract catering, from running food businesses and foraging.
Darrin began his career at Gidleigh Park Hotel working under the guidance of Michelin-starred chef Shaun Hill. Darrin has worked in many acclaimed fine dining restaurants in the UK and also held positions as a College Lecturer and Development Chef before joining the Ashburton Cookery School in 2004.
Chefs Academy Manager
David's career spans 25 years working at the Savoy Hotel before joining the Four Ways Inn and Waterside Restaurant in Bermuda. He became Sous Chef at the 5 star Imperial Hotel in Torquay before opening his own successful restaurant, Gardiner's in Budleigh Salterton, making the Michelin Guide. Following the sale of his restaurant in 2007, David joined Brend Hotels as Executive Chef before joining us in 2011.
Chef Operations Manager
Rob joined us in 2011 after a distinguished chef career cooking in many fine-dining restaurants including sous chef at L'Ortolan, head chef at the Michelin-starred Rhodes in the Square, and the New Angel in Dartmouth.
Pastry Chef Manager
Michael's career began at York's Bakery in Birmingham where he learned to master breadmaking. In 2013 he joined The Grand Hotel in Torquay where he worked his way up to Senior Production Pastry Chef with a team of chefs creating the full range of classic Patisserie. Michael has also run his own successful Chocolatier business supplying confectionery across the South West. He joined us in 2018 and leads our Patisserie courses and Chefs Academy Pastry qualifications.
Alan is an experienced chef who has worked as Pastry Chef at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant, and chef at luxury hotels and restaurants. He was the head chef of the New Walk Brasserie in Totnes before joining the cookery school in 2012.
Stuart started his career nearly 20 years ago and has worked at the 1 Michelin star Horn of Plenty in Tavistock, and 15 years as Senior Sous Chef at the 2AA rosette Combe House in Honiton, Devon. Stuart was a finalist of the South West Chef of the Year competition in 2014. He enjoys wild foods and foraging and nose to tail cooking.
Darren started his career at the fine dining 3 Rosette Camellia Restaurant in Sussex. He moved on to train with renowned 2 Michelin-starred Chef John Campbell and was part of the opening team at Cowarth Park for 2 years in Ascot before securing a senior kitchen role with Michelin-starred Chef Chris Staines at The Abbey Hotel in Bath. Here he went on to head the team as Head Chef for 5 years maintaining 3 AA rosettes and entry in the good food guide among other local awards for excellence in cuisine and service. He has particular interest in Italian and Asian Fusion Cuisines.
After a career in events in London, Olivia chose to follow her dream and train to be a Chef at Ashburton Chefs Academy. During her time training she secured a position at Lympstone Manor working under Michael Caines in his Michelin Star kitchen. She furthered her chef experience with stages at renowned local restaurants such as Rusty Pig, The Galley in Topsham before taking on the Head Chef role at Little Oink, Exeter. Olivia joined the tutor team at the beginning of 2023 and is keen shares her knowledge and passionate for food and cooking with our students.
Darren began his career at at the Copthorne Hotel in London working his way up the brigade from Commis to Sous Chef level. He returned to Devon as Head Chef at Dukes Hotel in Sidmouth for 7 years, gaining several awards and a fantastic local reputation. As a qualified trainer and assessor he has 8 years experience training young people for a career in catering. His passion for local sustainable food brought him to Ashburton Cookery School in 2022 as a full time tutor in the team.
After qualifying as a Chef, Conrad started his career at the Au Premier Restaurant in Switzerland. On returning to the UK he made it his mission to work with some of the elite Chefs in the country and worked his way up the ranks in some of the finest kitchens such as Le Gavroche with Albert Roux, The Castle Hotel in Taunton with Gary Rhodes and Harvey's Restaurant with the legendary Marco Pierre White. He went on to open Casa Tegoyo in Lanzarote gaining Michelin recognition before becoming Chef de Cuisine at Jumeriah Mina Salam Hotel in Dubai. Conrad is keen to pass on his knowledge with the next generation and joined the Chefs Academy in 2023.
Internal Quality Assessor
Carol is an experienced Pastry Chef and Lecturer and has worked on luxury cruise liners through to luxury hotels in London, Munich, Zurich Toronto and Bermuda. She is a full member of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, a Master Craftsman of the Guild of Chefs and international competition judge. Carol over sees the Internal Quality Assessing for the the Diploma in Patisserie.