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Melissa Jackson

Melissa began her studies at West Nottinghamshire College as a 14-year-old school pupil, attending one day per week on its Schools Academy programme, where she completed the principle learning of the Hospitality Diploma. This inspired her to apply for the VRQ Diploma in Introduction to Professional Cookery which is when Melissa really started her journey on the road to being a professional chef.

Melissa followed this up with the Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery and then in 2013 she secured one of only six new catering apprenticeships at the college. The role saw her working in the kitchens of the college’s fine-dining restaurant ‘Refined’, which caters for up to 400 public diners each week. 

Alongside her professional chef qualifications, Melissa also passed her Professional Food and Beverage Service qualifications at levels 1 and 2 and supplemented her education with an Open University course in Human Nutrition.

In 2014 Melissa won a coveted bursary to study at the prestigious School of Artisan Food. Upon her graduation from here Melissa took up several roles in various kitchens including the two Michelin star Hand and Flowers in Marlow where she worked under Chef Tom Kerridge.

But her real passion lay in artisan bakery so in 2016 Melissa joined Stoned – a wood-fired food venue in North Devon, specialising in pizzas but serving other breads, pastries and treats made in their wood-fired oven.

‘I love my job because it allows me to express my passion in the art and science of making and transforming different doughs from scratch into different breads, pastries and pizza bases.

‘My vocational qualifications have been essential to my career and I wouldn’t be where I am without the skills and experience they provided me with and the opportunities they opened up. Everyone should be aware of their options when it comes to education and so I think Career Footsteps is a great idea.

‘My advice is to follow your dreams; every path taken is for a reason, even if you don’t think so at the time, it is a path closer to your goal in life.’