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Rishi Chaudhary first came to Eastleigh College with only a basic understanding of English and no experience in the hospitality environment. Determined to pursue his ambition of becoming a chef, he trained hard in his SLUKY and ESOL studies before becoming a star pupil of the Hospitality and Catering department. Now with a wide range of prestigious awards to his name, Rishi is pursuing further steps in the catering industry.

Rishi is Nepalese and had spent his entire childhood in Nepal before moving overseas to Hampshire when he was 17. He applied to study Hospitality and Catering at Eastleigh College soon after, but this initial application had to be rejected on account of his poor English. An undeterred Rishi decided to tackle this by studying SLUKY and ESOL at Eastleigh College, courses designed to equip learners with the skills to not only thrive academically but also to integrate into life in the UK as international learners.

A year later, Rishi finally had the confidence and the ability in his English to enrol onto Hospitality and Catering courses, with a determination to succeed that was evident from his first day. Progressing through three years, Rishi studied Professional Catering at Level 1 and Level 2 before electing to continue with an Advanced Professional Catering Level 3 Diploma.

While the first two years were focused on the acquisition of practical skills, safety knowledge and work experience, the Advanced Catering Diploma gave Rishi the chance to truly prosper, with a wide range of challenges and experiences that have exposed him to the pressures and demands of the industry.

One of the highlights of Rishi’s studies was in becoming the 2022 Champion of the Major Culinary Challenge, emerging victorious from multiple heats staged across the country and a highly competitive final in front of approximately 3000 spectators. This required him to cook three portions of starters and three main course dishes each within the space of an hour, competing against seven competitors in front of four judges.

“I enjoyed so many great experiences while at Eastleigh College but the stand out achievement was winning the Major Chef competition. I wasn’t feeling well that morning and it was a very early start but once I arrived, everything seemed to come together perfectly. I won’t ever forget that day.”



Rishi was also part of the exceptional team that reached the final of the national Young Restaurant Team of the Year competition, alongside peers Ed and Mia. The trio took home a special ‘Innovation’ Award in recognition of their creativity and progressive thinking in the kitchen.

In another exciting achievement, Rishi won the coveted Eastleigh College ‘Adult Learner of the Year’ award last year, in recognition of his remarkable achievements during his studies. There are thousands of adult learners at Eastleigh College and this award is considered one of the most prestigious that a learner can receive.

The Hospitality and Catering department at Eastleigh College commented: “Rishi was an outstanding student during his time at Eastleigh College and we are all very proud of him. He always practiced hard and used a lot of creativity in his dishes – we wish him the best for a very promising career in the industry.”

Rishi now works at Inn the Park, a dynamic new restaurant in Winchester, and has his sights firmly fixed on further progression in the industry.

Rishi commented: “I wouldn’t have got to where I am today without the support of my amazing lecturers at Eastleigh College. One day I hope to be able to open my own restaurant and I would like to welcome them all for a meal to thank them.”