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Spephanie Moon

Job: chef. Born: 1969

Attended: Craven college, Skipton 1986-1987 Studied: City and Guilds, catering

Stephanie Moon has been Yorkshire's Chef of the Year and is an adviser to the county's tourist board on promoting the use of local produce. She has been executive chef at the Rudding Park Hotel and Golf Club in Harrogate for the past five years.

My studies catapulted my career from being essentially a pub chef to getting an amazing job as a commis chef at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

I got into college by the skin of my teeth, so I had an added incentive to succeed. I had the utmost respect for the staff: Barry Turner, then head of the catering department, now vice-principal; John Eaton, head of the catering department; and lecturers Pat Funnell and Jenny Burkin.

I regularly go back and have a good rapport with the students and lecturers. I have done a special dinner there for paying guests in the restaurant. The facilities have improved greatly with money being ploughed into development. The college now has many more students than when I was there.

Craven college has embraced modern thinking and is keeping ahead. College really gives you the basis to learn to cook. The rest is up to each individual chef as to how far they can push it.

I keep in touch with the lecturers and I meet them at food demonstrations and fairs. They treat me as an equal, which makes me realise how far I have come. We have a laugh and joke about the old days, but also discuss current students and their futures.

It was a great all-round education. I tried my best and they did well for me too. As a chef in the industry now, it is great to give something back to the college.

My worst memory is almost fainting on my first day in a hot kitchen.

But the best piece of advice I was given was: `Try hard, be yourself and they will love you.'

Stephanie Moon was talking to Shekhar Bhatia

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