+ Student & Staff

Ernst excites L20 Hotel School students with his pioneering cuisine

South African born chef Ernst Van Zyl returned to Hugh Baird College’s L20 Hotel School this week, one year on from his debut visit, to play guest chef and excite students with his pioneering cuisine.

Ernst owns, runs and cooks at The Hanging Gate in Macclesfield, located in the rolling hills of the Peak District. The 400-year-old establishment is one of Cheshire’s highest pubs, around 1,100m above sea level, offering spectacular view across the Cheshire plain.

Ernst’s culinary background is not short of career highlights, spending time at world acclaimed The Fat Duck and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quattre Saison.

Ernst worked with over 20 students to prepare and serve a five-course dinner for 60 guests at the College’s L20 Restaurant in his unique and contemporary style, with courses including cod cheek, rhubarb, hazelnut and watercress, Jerusalem artichoke, salted peanut butter and pine and white onion, goat’s yogurt and blueberry.

L20 Hotel School Curriculum Coordinator for Hospitality and Catering, Steve Otty, said:

“This is the second-year Ernst has kindly come over to the L20 Hotel School to work with our students and we are extremely grateful for his support. The students were amazed to learn about his innovative dishes and were left inspired by working alongside him to help create them.”
“Opportunities like this are invaluable for our aspiring chefs and front of house students and these experiences will help them stand out from the crowd when they embark on their career.”

Ernst Van Zyl said:

“It’s great to be back at the L20 Hotel School and seeing some familiar faces of the students. I was really impressed to see how far they’ve progressed with their skills in just one year.”
“Throughout my career I’ve been given the opportunity to work at some truly wonderful places and with some very inspiring chefs. The L20 Hotel School is providing amazing opportunities for aspiring chefs to do the same and I’m only too happy to help. I’m already looking forward to next year!”

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