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In May 2024 Buxton & Leek College’s (BLC) Harpurs Bistro was awarded a GOLD accreditation for our hospitality and catering provision by People 1st International. This will sit alongside the AA Highly Commended College Rosette that Buxton & Leek College received recently. As well as the highly sought-after accolade, which only 10% of the country’s restaurants manage to achieve, Harpurs has also been awarded its 5 STAR Food Safety rating, making it a perfect setting to train to the highest standards of hospitality. 

Andy Doyle from People First says, “The building and facilities at Buxton & Leek College provide an inspiring location for the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals to develop their knowledge and skills.  Supported by the strong links with local industry, the lecture team clearly recognise the importance of exposing their students to a variety of experiences and opportunities to help them understand the diverse careers possible within the hospitality industry. We are sure that being recognised by People 1st International’s industry panel will help them to increase these links and widen the opportunities further.  The re-opening of the training restaurant,  Harpurs Bistro, which is a true reflection of industry in look, feel and approach, provides a real commercial experience for students to hone their skills, and we are looking forward to working with the team to help them to continue to develop and grow their offer over the coming years.” 

The student-led commercial restaurant was opened in January 2024 as a training centre for apprentices and students on full-time study programmes. The decor of the purpose-built Harpurs Bistro reflects the merging of the College’s two campuses, with the skylines of the Staffordshire Moorlands and High Peak spanning the length of the restaurant. Both the look and the feel of the restaurant reflect the hugely successful Harpur Hill facility by which the new bistro’s name was inspired.  

From conception to completion, employers and Harpur Hill Alumni have championed the new bistro, and continue to support the College and its students by dining there regularly. As a training facility for the chefs of tomorrow, Harpurs menu changes regularly to make the most of the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Dishes at the Bistro range from handmade ravioli to guinea-fowl black garlic kiev. 

Oliver Curl (Team Leading Apprentice) recently represented BLC at World Skills at Hull College, where he competed against students from around the globe on various dishes (including his specialty of flambéing bananas), notes “Harpurs has given me an opportunity to showcase my industry skills to both the public, staff, and my peers in a stunning facility within the college.” 

With a 5-star Trip Advisor rating and glowing reviews it’s no surprise that Harpurs Bistro is fully booked for the rest of the academic year, with more dates to be added soon, and already providing young people like Oliver with invaluable experience.  You can find out more about Harpurs and book a table at