Nick had a love of food and cooking since he was old enough to stand. He spent many weekends with his Grandma baking, and she sparked his passion and enthusiasm for the world of food.
“She sadly passed away a few years ago, but that spark continued to grow and thrive. I left school at 16 having completed my GCSE’s and started working straight away at a Michelin restaurant in the Lake District. The buzz, chaos, fast pace was exhilarating, and I loved it. I was desperate to learn and eventually open my own restaurant,” says Nick.
“But the atmosphere at times wasn’t always great, and I felt my passion slowly starting to disappear, until one of the chefs spoke to me about teaching instead. The spark was reignited, and I went back to my school Sixth Form. I started looking at university courses and stumbled, by accident, at the Home Economics course at LJMU.”
Nick studied Home Economics, Food Design & Technology whilst at LJMU, from 2011-2014.
“The course was perfect for me. So many topics and I’ll never forget cooking zebra with chocolate sauce, or Dave the outstanding technician having egg poured over his head by Wendy, an outstanding lecturer! I knew that the course would set me up perfectly for teaching, and it did.”
For the past eight years Nick has been a Food Technology teacher, having completed his teacher training back home in Cumbria after completing his undergraduate studies with us.
“LJMU set me up perfectly for my teacher training and teaching career...I left with a huge sense of gratitude for the lecturers who had supported me so well. They got to know each of us so well and they really took care of us. When the time came to say goodbye, the emotion everyone felt wasn’t just about saying goodbye to friends but showing appreciation for those who guided so well. I wanted to make sure that my students were given the same opportunities that I was at LJMU which is how my charity ended up coming about.”
– Nick Hall
He set up his charity, the Aroma Catering Foundation, to help support young people who wanted to attend catering college or carry out an apprenticeship within the catering or hospitality industry.
“Students had an ambition, much like me, but were being held back due to needing to cover the costs of transport, chef whites, knives etc. For many, especially in areas of Cumbria, this might sadly have brought their dreams and ambitions to a premature end.
“My charity has run pop-up restaurants offering taster menus to paying customers who are exposed to often strange, weird and wonderful dishes. Scallops with caviar and white chocolate for example has been a firm favourite, or our salad with edible soil! Our profits from the events stay with our foundation and are donated to young people to help them start their foodie journey.
“Over the years Aroma has helped young people, many of which are now fully qualified, and promoted chefs. Working at celebrated and award-winning restaurants, through to three Michelin Star restaurants in the local area, it’s been an exciting, and rewarding journey.”
Nick will bring the last eight years of dedicated work with his charity to a close this year, as the barriers that once stood in the way of young people to follow career paths into the industry thankfully no longer exist.
“The only good thing to come from the pandemic and cost of living crisis is that further education providers have reassessed the requirements of their young people, and thankfully the barriers which were once there have been removed. It’s very bittersweet. This means that Aroma is no longer needed. Our aim and goal as directed by our constitution is being met without our intervention, which is wonderful, and how it always should have been. And so, with a sense of pride and maybe a little bit of sadness, it's time to hang up the Aroma apron.”
Nick puts students at the heart of all his does, both professionally and through the amazing work of his charity and embodies the values that LJMU is proud to stand by today, and for the next 200 years.