Scholars: Blackburn’s top rated restaurant on TripAdvisor

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Of course, WHEN you think of a city’s top fine-dining restaurant, you expect Michelin-starred chefs, astronomical prices and staff with lots of industry background – but that’s not the case in Blackburn… and the experience is all the better for it.

A small bistro at Blackburn College, Scholars is run by a handful of industry professionals alongside students from the college who combine experience at the top with passion and enthusiasm from kitchen to passport, offering a four course lunchtime dining experience for just £12.

However, the unusual mix of staff has succeeded – Scholars is the highest rated restaurant on TripAdvisor in all of Blackburn, with 379 “excellent” ratings from 387 reviews. They’re also one of the top-rated restaurants in the county, and for good reason.

The Lancashire Telegraph dined at Scholars last week (21st January) and will review the experience in a separate article, along with details of the menu.

Karen Lilley, Scholars Restaurant Manager, said: “At Scholars we are proud to be one of Lancashire’s leading training restaurants, teaching students of a wide range of skills.

“All of our dishes are created as part of student assessment and it is extremely rewarding to see them develop and thrive in their skills and confidence.

“Working at Scholars provides a safe and welcoming environment for students to learn how to interact with customers. This is all the more important as social interactions are not possible due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is a real testament to our students that Scholars is ranked as the best restaurant in Blackburn on Trip Advisor – this is entirely thanks to their hard work and professionalism and they are very proud of this achievement.

“Thank you to all of our loyal and supportive customers who have taken the time to leave reviews.”

RATING: Dining at Scholars, Blackburn’s highest rated restaurant on TripAdvisor

David Lyon, Lecturer in Hospitality, has enjoyed a illustrious career in the region, overseeing students in the kitchen. Now he thinks it’s time to give something back to education.

He said: “I recently joined Blackburn College after 15 years with Nigel Haworth as Executive Head Chef of Northcote at Rovers.

“One part of the job I particularly enjoyed was working with young apprentices and helping them develop their skills, so moving to Blackburn College was ideal.

“My long-term hope is that students will move into the industry and we’ll see them succeed, be it as a chef or in other roles.

“We have a diverse mix of students, some may not aspire to be chefs, but all of our students are learning new skills and entering the world of work with more confidence.”

Student Imogen Harding, 17, from Clitheroe studying professional cooking, said: ‘I’ve always wanted to be a chef, cooking is my passion.

“I chose Blackburn College because it has the best catering course and I want to have a successful career.

“Working in a busy kitchen can be very tiring, but I thrive on it. My favorite dish to cook at home is cottage pie, but my favorite at university is to cook sautéed wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, tarragon cream, toasted focaccia and pine nuts.”

Omaar Birkett, 18, from Padiham is also studying professional cooking.

He said: “My goal is to become the chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant. I really enjoy learning modern cooking techniques like mousses and gels and like creating my own dishes.

“I currently have a job as a kitchen assistant at The Three Fishes at Great Mitton, which I secured through college. It’s great to work as part of a team led by Nigel Haworth.”

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