Elliott Lidstone

What are you doing now?

I’m currently the head chef of the Empress in East London. We have been awarded a Michelin bib gourmand and a rosette from the AA.

What route did you take up to this point?

After finishing my GCSEs I left to do a BTEC National Diploma in hotel management at Plymouth College. After completing that I spent six years at the 5* Chewton Glen Hotel. Following that I spent six years at the Michelin starred L’ortolan in Berkshire, leaving after spending the final two years as head chef there to take the head chef position at the Empress.

Any significant crossroads?

Leaving DHSB after my GCSEs was a big decision but I was confident in what I wanted to do. I also spent six months working in France when I was 18 which was a huge learning curve. Funnily enough French was one of my worst subjects at school but by the time I left France I was pretty much fluent.

What have you learnt most about yourself?

Probably that even though sometimes I may think something is impossible to achieve, with the right mindset and determination, I know it can be done.

What words of wisdom would you give to a student joining DHSB in Year 7?

Make sure you make the most of your time and do as much as you can outside of lessons, be it DofE award or music or anything that interests you. Also remember it’s not just you who’s new at the school, everyone’s in the same boat. I still have close friends now that I met nearly 20 years ago in Year 7 so don’t be shy. Enjoy.

And for a Sixth Former leaving DHSB?

Be confident with the decisions you make and don’t forget, even though you are going onto new challenges, it’s all a learning curve. Enjoy it.

Any fond memories of school you can share?

It was the first time I really began to experience freedom, so meeting new people, discovering what subjects and interests really mattered to me. I also spent a good few lunch breaks charging around the school playing games but I won’t mention that!

Do you have a message for any of your teachers?

Mr Adams my Form Tutor was a great guy as were all the science teachers. Also the Home Economics team were great with extra cooking clubs etc.

Mr Coombes was a legend, taking us out Ten Tors training. Great memories.