A passion for food and devotion to customer care are the winning ingredients for a South Tyneside College chef and lecturer who has been served the ultimate professional accolade.
Wayne Reed, 50, has been created a Master Craftsman by the Craft Guild of Chefs, the UK’s internationally recognised industry body.
It puts him among a select band who include famous names Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsey but also skilled hands working in bars, pubs and bistros across the land.
A chef since 1984, he has consistently risen to the occasion in a succession of career-enhancing roles – from health service and college catering services management to lecturing.
His work has taken him to positions at Durham University, the NHS and numerous regional colleges, including his current post at South Tyneside College.
Wayne, from Nettlesworth, Co Durham, said: “I must be doing something right. I’ve always had a passion for food, and I love customer care and helping people to learn.
“To be made Master Craftsman is a huge achievement and I’m very proud of myself, but I don’t want to rest on my laurels.
“My work is all about what I can give my students. Hopefully being a Master Craftsman will open doors for them through work experience and competitions they can be part of.
“Throughout my career I’ve made it my purpose that training is a key role and that without education, you can’t raise standards in this industry.
“I want people to know that catering is a very worthy industry to come into.”
Wayne, who lives with partner Linda, a retired health care worker, gained student qualifications at New College Durham, which led to a job with the NHS in 1986.
He has since worked at Durham University in roles including chef and shift leader, and also at New College Durham, Derwentside College and East Durham and Houghall College.
At South Tyneside College, which is part of the new Tyne Coast College, he continues to inspire students to perfect their skills and to push the boundaries of their profession.
This includes helping them understand the need to broaden their horizons in terms of the ingredients they can work with.
He added: “To be successful, you need to be dedicated and to be continually training and looking for the next challenge.
“I love knowing that I can cook something that will change the way someone is feeling on a particular day.
“They can come along in a certain mood and go away fulfilled and feeling that everything is good with the world.
“Plant-based foods are a new and important ingredient, and students need to know that they can experiment with what they use.
“For the modern chef to be outstanding, it’s really not a case of sticking to using traditional ingredients such a beef, pork and chicken.”
To be nominated a Master Craftsman, Wayne was proposed by two current member of the Craft Guild of Chefs, which was founded in 1965 and is the UK’s leading chefs’ association.
His career path and CV were scrutinised by judges to ensure he met the highest standards and qualities, and that his skills would be of value to the guild.
The guild’s members come from all walks of the foodservice and hospitality sectors, and can include students, trainees, management and Michelin stared chefs.
It works to increase standards of professional cooking through greater awareness, education and training, to develop the careers and prospects of its members, and to work with industry.
Andrew Green, Chief Executive of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “Wayne is one of a select group of talented chefs who have reached this level.
“For us, we love to have members who make this grade, it’s really nice to see them step up to the next level and become a Master Craftsman.
“It is important that they can use their professionalism to train and support people coming into the industry, it’s very good that their influence will rub off on a new generation of people.”
To further his pursuit of new learning, Wayne is taking a Professional Doctorate with Leadership at Sunderland University, which he hopes to complete by December.