A FORMER school boarding house in North Cornwall, converted as part of a £2.7 million scheme, could become a destination restaurant, Michelin chef Nathan Outlaw has predicted.
The celebrity chef who has restaurants at Rock, Looe and London, made the claim as he opened the £2.7m hospitality and catering training centre at Dunheved House, the former boarding house and headmaster's accommodation at Launceston College.
With a state-of-the-art industrial kitchen developed with funding from the Savoy Educational Trust, and a 20-cover dining room based in the former headmaster's sitting room, the area will be used by trainees on the professional catering course to provide a fine dining experience for the public or guests.
The centre also includes a refurbished lounge area, which can be used by guests waiting for dinner, hotel bedroom accommodation and a hair and beauty salon.
The aim of the centre is to enable students to train in all areas of the beauty, hospitality and catering industries.
"It is a very promising project and a lot of time has been spent in taking an old building and doing it up," said Mr Outlaw. "The result is something which will become a destination restaurant. Cornwall is becoming the top area in the hospitality industry and this will train young caterers to have a role in it.
"When I was at school I was the only boy in the cookery class, but now things have changed and it is important this sort of facility is available for youngsters who are passionate about food."
The scheme has transformed the former boarding house into a new 21st-century learning centre offering further and higher education courses, state-of-the-art conference facilities and a base for providing health and social care services for local families. It was officially opened by the chief executive of the Education Funding Agency, Peter Lauener, and Nathan Outlaw.
Dunheved House, set in the grounds of Launceston College, was part of the original college building which opened on the current site in 1875. The project to refurbish the building, which included classrooms, boarding facilities for students and the headmaster's house, has been led by a partnership comprising Launceston College, The Cornwall Children's Trust and the Combined Universities in Cornwall.
Funding has come from a range of sources, including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme, Cornwall Council, Cornwall College, Launceston College and the Savoy Educational Trust.
Jack Jackson, principal of the college, said: "Dunheved House represents a collaboration between the partners to achieve something which is greater than any of us could have achieved on our own.
"It is already proving to be an excellent resource for Launceston College, local businesses and the local community and is a testament to what can be achieved when different organisations are prepared to work together."