We Welcome Jon Starns

My hospitality and catering career started when I was working in a local chip shop, unsure what I wanted to do as a career while still at school. At 15, there is a lot of pressure on young people to decide what they want to do as a career, and as most young people at that age, I had no idea.

I attended an open evening at Henley college, and I was hooked! The buzz of the evening was fantastic with all the cookery demonstrations and flambé work. I decided very quickly this was the trade for me. I enrolled and spent the next four years studying all aspects of our industry by completing a hotel management qualification and a restaurant and kitchen qualification.

During my first year at college, I started working at a local hotel, 1st as a kitchen porter, progressing into the A la carte restaurant within a few months. After a year in the fine dining restaurant, I helped out in the kitchen one evening, starting a journey that lasted three years while studying at college.

After finishing my hotel management qualification, I was offered a job as a restaurant supervisor and subsequently promoted to assistant restaurant manager of a 2AA rosette restaurant at 21. I stayed Front-of-House and worked my way up the ladder, 1st in restaurants then into hotel management at numerous quality establishments.

After working in the hospitality and catering trade, I trained future caterers for over 20 years. This is a side to the industry that I have learnt to love, as inspiring young caterers to learn and develop gives me drive and a sense of pride. I was offered a part-time opportunity at Loughborough College to learn my trade in teaching and spent one fantastic year at the college. An opening arose at NWSLC for a full-time restaurant lecturer, and I continued my development for the next 13 years.

I’m looking forward to starting my role at Loughborough college and maintaining the very high teaching, learning, and development standards. With my hospitality experience and knowledge, I know that I have what it takes to take the department forward and continue its brilliant reputation.

In my spare time, I give back to the community as chairman and manager of my twin boys football team. Arsenal is the team I support, and yes, that makes me a ‘Gooner’!

One of my real passions is food and drink, and I love going to fine dining restaurants, which I try to do as often as possible. I’m open-minded when it comes to food although I have to say my favourite is Italian. My favourite grape for wine is a Pinotage, and I would highly recommend a glass as it’s full of flavour and is palatable on its own or matches wonderfully with food. If you give it a try, I’d be interested to know what your thoughts are.