Dom gives football the boot for cooking

Dominic Brett Duxbury’s schoolboy dream to become a professional footballer was kicked into touch when he discovered cooking.

Now his goal is to study world food and open his own high-class country restaurant.

And, at 19 years old, the Blackburn-born commis chef, who lives in Accrington, has already started to pick up awards.

His employer, Joycelyn Neve, managing director of the Seafood Pub Company, was the first to reward him for improvement and performance in the kitchen of the Fenwick Arms at Claughton, between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale.

“Dom came to us with no experience but has real drive,” says Joycelyn. “He’s gone above and beyond what was expected and become a genuine future asset.”

Now his tutors at Accrington and Rossendale College have named him ‘Apprentice of the Year’.

“The improvement we have seen in Dominic is remarkable since he began working for the Seafood Pub Company,” said head lecturer Mr Lee Hyatt.

Head of catering Mrs Sandy Sutcliffe added “the partnership between the students and the Seafood Pub Company has been revolutionary and has grown in leaps and bounds.”

Dom (pictured) left Rhyddings High School at Oswaldtwistle only three years ago. It was there that weekly cookery lessons were to tempt him away from coaching sessions at Blackburn Rovers and steer him towards a catering course at Accrington and Rossendale College.

There he was spotted by the Seafood Pub Company and invited for interview when the Fenwick opened last summer. He is now continuing his NVQ studies during an 18 month apprenticeship there.

“I want to travel, learn different cuisines and cultures and eventually open my own country restaurant,” says Dom. “I’ve been lucky to get this opportunity to learn from very talented chefs and work with a company that believes in encouraging local talent. To get this great start in the food and drink industry was an opportunity I couldn’t miss and I grabbed it with both hands.”

Dom is among a series of young students from Accrington and Rossendale College, and Nelson and Colne College at Barrowford, who have been given apprenticeships and work placements with a view to full time employment at Seafood Pub Company sites.

“Opportunities such as these are imperative to the future of the industry and the development of the students,” said Accrington and Rossendale College principal Mrs Sue Taylor. The Seafood Pub Company has the Oyster & Otter in Blackburn, the Assheton Arms in the Ribble Valley conservation village of Downham, the Fenwick at Claughton, the Farmers Arms at Great Eccleston and the newly-launched Derby Arms at Longridge. Next month the Barley Mow, in the Pendle village of Barley, will become the sixth.