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Tony Oxley

I was trained at Henley College Coventry to Level 3, which gave me the chance to spend 6 months in Germany as part of my course at college.

Throughout my entire career I have aimed to develop and evolve my skills by working in various restaurants and hotels.

Upon leaving college at the age of 18, I began working for a small company called Four Pillars Restaurants, where I worked in a 20-bedroom hotel in Henley upon Thames, where I was the only chef. I progressed through the company in various restaurant locations such as Pinner, Rickmansworth and Abingdon. After 4 years I was given a directorship within the company and ran my own successful restaurant in Amersham for 5 years, where I was given the responsibility to manage my own budget as well as free rein to design my own dishes, to which I am a great believer in using local suppliers and supporting British produce and this reflected within my dishes.

At 26, I was made Head Chef Director of a brand new 3 star 70-bedroom hotel, the Buckingham Four pillars hotel. I was given the task to design and plan my own kitchen and recruit my own team.

The hotel provided banqueting for 300 guests, private dining for 160 guests and I ran the kitchen on a small brigade of 7 chefs. I worked in Buckingham for 9 years until an opportunity arose to run a brand new 4 Star 120-bedroom hotel in Oxford, called the Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel. I was Executive Chef director and ran the kitchen on a brigade of 12 chefs.

I have trained many chefs through the ranks of commis up to Head chef within the company and decided after 4 years in Oxford to have a complete change and turn to teaching. I joined Milton Keynes College as a chef lecturer and within 2 years I achieved a degree in teaching. Within the 10 years of teaching I have progressed through the levels of Team leader, Lead teacher to Programme Manager, responsible for all programmes and levels of students.

I continually aim to maintain and update my skills by keeping up to date with industry trends and standards, but also by working in the kitchens for Mercedes FI team on the weekends and working at places such as Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saison. I also find networking at PACE meetings and sharing good practices between other chef lecturers and colleges a great way of staying in the know.

I find teaching a very rewarding and challenging job, being able to pass on my skills and knowledge I have gained within the industry to the chefs and waiters of the future. I take a great interest in the progression of my students and like to see how far they have travelled since leaving college. I feel a great sense of pride knowing that I had a part in their stepping stones into a very passionate and exciting industry.


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