Chef tells students of his dark past as addict

Chef Michael Quinn MBE visits Grantham College.

Chef Michael Quinn MBE visits Grantham College.

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TOP chef Michael Quinn paid a visit to hospitality and catering students at Grantham College.

He spoke to students in an attempt to raise their awareness of the pressures and risks that go hand in hand with a career in the hospitality industry.

In 1980, when Michael was 35, he had already been awarded one Michelin star and soon went on to be the first British chef to hold the top job at the Ritz Hotel in London.

His career saw him cook for the Queen and receive an MBE, but before long the pressures of being a star chef had left him increasingly dependant on alcohol. By 1990, his meteoric rise to culinary fame had come crashing to a halt and he found himself sleeping rough.

In 2001, with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, Michael began the long, hard journey to sobriety. In the same year he established the Ark Foundation, a charity set up to educate those involved in the hospitality industry about the dangers of alcohol dependency and drug abuse.

Last Wednesday, Michael visited Grantham College as part of the charity program.

Lewis Tringham, hospitality and catering lecturer at Grantham College, said: “It was a great opportunity for students to meet Michael. He gave them a real honest account of the damage that alcohol can do and the pitfalls of stardom.

“It was a really inspirational talk and reminded us all about the really important things in life, family and friends.”