Expatriate chef cooks up successful life in Coventry

The Coventry College alumnus is now the head pastry chef at the Green Dragon in Coventry city centre – a new fine-dining restaurant.

Pictured: Alin Stoica, pastry chef at Green Dragon restaurant.

A Coventry chef who arrived in the UK five years ago in search of a better life has thanked the city’s college for helping him to cook up a recipe for success.

Alin Stoica, who lives in Foleshill, moved to Coventry from Romania five years ago to improve his education and career prospects after being persuaded by his father, and since then, he has not looked back.

After completing his GCSEs at Lyng Hall School, the 20-year-old enrolled on the Catering and Hospitality course at Coventry College – where he would go on to win top honours in 15 different cooking competitions over a three year period.

Following stints at the Jacobean Hotel in Coventry and the Michelin star Hampton Manor, where he was making pastry for banqueting service, he is now the head pastry chef at the Green Dragon in Coventry city centre – a new fine-dining restaurant that opened in February, and is now operating a takeaway service to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Alin said: “It’s been a whirlwind five years since I first came over to the UK – at first I didn’t want to come as it was quite daunting to leave my home behind, but it was the best decision I ever made.

“I arrived in the country unable to speak a word of English, but within six months I had a strong grasp thanks to watching a lot of movies with the subtitles on!

“I became interested in cooking whilst at secondary school, so enrolled at Coventry College, and it was there that I really laid the foundations for my cooking career – you are taught everything, from basic hygiene and broadening your knowledge of cuisine, through to cooking and customer service.

“The college highlight for me was being named as one of the top five chefs in the country at the World Skills UK competition for culinary arts, where I did six-hour cooking challenges for three consecutive days, and I was named fourth out of 150 contestants.

“After leaving college, I haven’t looked back really, as I’ve been able to use all of the skills that I’ve learned at college in the real world, every day.”

Coventry College is holding its first online open day event for the 2020/21 academic year, and Alin is encouraging those interested to take part.

He added: “The teachers at the college have firsthand industry experience, and will provide you with all of the knowledge you need – it’s down to you to give your all!”