Faced with furlough and the decimating effects of a pandemic on the hospitality industry there was only one thing for Harold Cutting to do – apply for his dream job at one of the world’s best hotels.

“If Covid made me realise anything, it’s that life is too short, and you should go for your dreams,” said the 22-year-old former Darlington College hospitality student. “I applied for the head waiter role at The Grill at The Dorchester in London and got it!”

Harold, a former pupil at Hummersknott School, studied NVQ L3 and VRQ L1 and L2 professional cookery and hospitality at Darlington College between 2015 and 2018.

His passion shone through and he managed to secure work experience at the five red star Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth-on-Tees, where he was offered a job and promoted to food and beverage team leader during his four-year tenure.

“But I always had a vision of working at a top hotel in London and it doesn’t get better than The Dorchester,” he said. “What I really love about working here is the true connection our team members have, there is a real passion to make our guests feel at home.”

Since its opening in 1931, The Dorchester has been a leader in world class hospitality and cuisine and Harold is proud to be part of the next chapter in The Grill’s 90th year.

“The Dorchester is such a lovely hotel to work for and they are really good at entering us into competitions and gold standard awards,” he said. “In particular our head chef Tom Booton is such an inspiration and really encourages us to learn and develop within our roles.

“It was a bit of a culture shock moving from Darlington to London but what I learned at college was so useful. My tutors always pushed and believed in me, which made a massive difference.”

Darlington College lecturer Dawn Cobb-Neate said: “Harold was passionate about the industry from the minute he arrived with us and thoroughly deserves this amazing opportunity.

“We encourage all our students to have a go, pursue their dreams and Harold’s success I am sure will inspire countless future generations of hospitality students.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.