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Lucy Bomford, Lawnside 1993 Leaver

I left school and studied Music Technology at the London College of Music. Although I loved music, I soon realised that I it was not going to be my career. When I graduated, I moved to Paris and worked as an au pair for the summer. I then took a crash cookery course and embarked on the first of several ski seasons cooking in a chalet.

Each summer I returned to the lovely French family in Paris and through their contacts I obtained employment as a trainee chef in a prestigious restaurant with The Costes Group. I worked as a chef and then became a Manager. My sister came out to join me and it was then that we decided to set up a cookery school. With the experience we had gained from working in the mountains, we had seen how bad the cooking could be and the lack of staff training in some companies. Staff who had done cookery courses were unable to put a meal together, so we left Paris and spent another season in the Alps to get us up to date, while we planned and promoted our new venture.

In the Spring of 2003 we converted part of our parents’ house into a purpose built kitchen to teach six students. Acting as a builders mate, I learned the skills of the trade which were to be invaluable during the early days of our business. It was during that time that I achieved a personal success with my letter about Dyslexia being printed in The Daily Telegraph. It was confirmed that I was dyslexic in my early teens and school had been a real struggle. Some teachers were very inspiring which helped me hugely and I looked back at those teachers and followed their style with my teaching in the cookery school. It is due to them that my teaching has been so successful. I also learnt that a good teacher, with enthusiasm, can make anything interesting.

We opened our Residential Cookery School in September 2003 using the bedrooms of our house for accommodation. The school has been a great success and within a twelve year period we had built the school up from six students in a kitchen in our farmhouse, to forty-eight students in six kitchens, converting barns, building additional facilities and we employ a team of twenty six staff during our busy months. There are three of us running it now as my sister’s husband Nicholas joined us over 10 years ago when they married: he definitely needs a mention!

What does success look like?
Success is enjoying what you do, being happy with a happy team around you.

What is your best piece of advice?

You are in charge of your own destiny. If you don’t like the route, change direction.

Treat your life as a novel, so make it an interesting read.  You will have sad times and good times but keep turning the pages. Cherish what you are good at and use it to your advantage. Accept your weaknesses and don’t dwell on them. Listen to your closest family. They will sometimes tell you what you don’t want to hear but it is often good advice.

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