Former Darlington College apprentice offers students a glimpse of life as a senior sous chef

Darlington College

Wednesday, 10th October 2018

Former Darlington College apprentice offers students a glimpse of life as a senior sous chef

TOP chef returns to his roots

A TOP chef is returning to his roots to share with students what it’s like to work with the best in the world.

Former Darlington College apprentice Sean Wrest will offer students and the public a glimpse of his life as senior sous chef at the celebrated Black Swan in Oldstead, near Thirsk.

According to the critics, the fine dining restaurant is simply the best and foodies from around the world wait up to eight months to sample its hallowed menu.

When owner Tommy Banks twice won the Great British Menu, then topped it off with the Trip Advisor best fine dining restaurant in the world accolade, the bookings flooded in.

More than 90,000 people visited the website and 15,000 booked a table.

Eighteen chefs now slave over their stoves seven days a week serving 50 covers a day, featuring £110 per person 14-course tasting menus, fusions of traditional Yorkshire fare grown in the back garden, locally sourced meat and fish, all with a Nordic twist.

Banks launching a cook book, being featured on the CNN food network and picking up the Food and Travel Awards prize for best restaurant outside London and in the country has filled their diary until the end of March.

But Sean is now bringing his culinary slant to Darlington College’s Glasshouse Restaurant on November 15 when he and students will serve up a nine course tasting menu, costing £22.95.

The 27-year-old, of Leyburn, secured his apprenticeship and his Level 2 and 3 qualifications at Darlington College training at the well-respected Sandpiper Inn in his home town.

Three years at the Sandpiper Inn under the watchful eye of chef patron Jonathan Harrison proved to be the perfect training for Sean’s next post, an internship at the renowned Fat Duck in Bray, the three Michelin star restaurant owned by Heston Blumenthal.

Back to the North Yorkshire, Sean took up a position at Yorebridge House, Bainbridge, before honing his craft at the chic fine dining restaurant Maaemo in Oslo.

His Darlington College tutor Dawn Cobb-Neate said: “He was a great student who thoroughly enjoyed himself.

“I am so pleased he has agreed to come back to work with our current cohort and stage a tasting night for us. It is going to be an incredible experience for us all.”

Sean said: “It is unbelievable working at The Black Swan. When you hear that they have come all the way from Canada and waited eight months for a table, that is humbling and exciting.

“I didn’t want to just produce a carbon copy of a Black Swan menu and really enjoyed putting this together for the college.

“Now I can share this with the students and diners at Darlington College. I think it is so important to give something back, to share my experience and offer some advice. Darlington College is a really good place to learn your craft and students go on to do some amazing things, which is a reflection of how good they are when they leave.”


Potato blini with crab and horseradish

(Vegetarian alternative: confit carrot)

Chicken dumpling with a tea made from roast bones, lemon verbena and chives

(Vegetarian: mushroom dumpling with a tea made from potato skins, verbena and chives)

(Gluten-free: chicken and celeriac taco with a tea made from roast bones, lemon verbena and chives)

Smoked eel doughnut, Granny Smith apple

(Vegetarian: roast cauliflower doughnut)

Beetroot with blackcurrant and Tunworth custard

Brill with a veloute of mussels, charred squid and parsley oil

(Vegetarian: roast celeriac, veloute of fermented celeriac, charred salsify and turnip noodles)

Chicken with onions and an emulsion made from chive

(Vegetarian: Hen of the woods mushroom, onions and an emulsion made from chive)

Plum and lemon posset with yoghurt sorbet and champagne foam

Fennel parfait, blackberry and apple

Root vegetable toast (Vegetarian)

Fudge made from Jerusalem artichoke

To book a table at Sean’s dinner at Darlington College, contact the Glasshouse on (01325) 503030. For more details of opportunities at Darlington College visit