NWRC has ‘UK’s best restaurant lecturer’

North West Regional College Lecturer Jonathan Lyttle was recently named the UK's Best Restaurant Lecturer.
North West Regional College Lecturer Jonathan Lyttle was recently named the UK's Best Restaurant Lecturer.

A lecturer from North West Regional College has been named the Best Restaurant Service Lecturer in the United Kingdom. Jonathan Lyttle trains young people for a career in Front of House at North West Regional College’s Limavady and Derry campuses, and picked up the PACE Award at a glittering ceremony in Nottingham recently.

Jonathan was nominated by Hospitality Curriculum Manager Leyonia Davey, who herself was named the UK’s Best Hospitality Lecturer in 2013. Leyonia said: “I decided to put Jonathan forward for this award as he has worked diligently throughout his lecturing career in the college, bringing a high degree of energy, commitment, flexibility and professional conduct. In fact, Jonathan was one of the first students that I taught in the college a number of years ago.

“This gives him the unique position that he can relate to the students with his own experience, and inspire them with the work ethic that he possesses. Jonathan is the lecturer that leaves a lasting positive impression with all students.”

Working with the students completing NVQ programmes in Hospitality and Catering, Jonathan leads the teams who serve within the Flying Clipper Fine Dining Restaurant at the Strand Road Campus, and Garnett’s Restaurant at the Limavady Campus. He was recognised as he goes over and above the requirements to ensure that the students get the best from their college experience, and the customers in the restaurants receive the highest standard of service.

Leyonia added:

“Jonathan never hesitates on taking on a challenge or difficult task. He has an extremely caring nature and was asked to become the ‘Student with Learning Difficulties or Disabilities’ co-ordinator for the hospitality students in the college. He has taken on this role with a fervour, and ensures that each student who enters his restaurant is given all the extra help they require. He set up mock interviews with students, worked with them on their CV’s, and helped them secure employment in local cafes.

“Every student matters and their success is very much something that Jonathan is passionate about.

“What sets him apart is that he recognises and acknowledges their capabilities and identifies gaps that need to be worked on, so that every student leaves a course equipped with knowledge, understanding and a clear vision of where they need to be in industry.”

As part of the Lecturers into Industry programme, Jonathan gave up his Halloween break to undertake a work placement in the Merchant Hotel in Belfast. He brought his experience of the 5 star restaurant back to the college, and it has clearly paid off. A recent review of the Flying Clipper mentioned the front of house staff as ‘warm and knowledgeable’.

Jonathan attended the PACE Awards but was not aware that he was going to be recognised in this way.

“It was a tremendous shock to be told I had won this award” says Jonathan. “I am honoured that PACE chose me, but more so, I am grateful to Leyonia who took the time to nominate me and for the recognition of my contribution to our very successful team in Hospitality and Catering.”