Team Domenica graduate cooks up a storm with 19,200 cakes for Brighton’s ‘Best Afternoon Tea’

Presenter Alex Polizzi, trustee of Team Domenica and host of Channel 5 show The Hotel Inspector, joins Executive Chef Alan White in The Grand’s Victoria Lounge to congratulate Zac on his year-long journey into employment.

This month we're celebrating a grand partnership with local charity, Team Domenica, to mark the year anniversary of graduate Zac's successful placement in the hotel's kitchen under the mentorship of Executive Chef, Alan White, where he now works two days a week.

In the last year, Zac has baked 19,200 slices of his speciality orange and polenta cake for the hotel’s high tea selection - a recent winner of the ‘Best Afternoon Tea’ in the BRAVO 2019 Restaurants Brighton awards.

Zac’s placement with The Grand Brighton is one of the successful partnerships that the social enterprise, which focuses on putting young adults with learning disabilities into employment, has established.

Zac, who has previously found it hard to be in group situations, now relishes time spent in the hotel’s kitchen. A year in the hotel kitchen has seen Zac harness his culinary skills and try his hand at cooking up a range of sweet treats from flapjacks to baking scones, before finding his passion for delivering exceptional orange and polenta sponges.

Zac, 25, said:

“I am very happy as I love working. I’m a baker so I’m so pleased that Team Domenica helped me to get a job making cakes for the afternoon teas at The Grand hotel.”

Lisa Campbell-Squires, Programme and Strategy Director at Team Domenica said:

“We recognised early on Zac’s potential as a natural and talented baker. Through in-house work experience at Café Domenica and taking part in our enrichment programme, Zac’s ability to manage his anxiety and difficult situations greatly improved. Our supported employment programme offered him high levels of social interaction and continued to develop his communication skills, confidence and independence. Based on his career aspirations, our Employment Centre matched Zac to a supported internship with partnered employer The Grand hotel.”

Alan White, Executive Chef at The Grand Brighton, said:

“I can’t say enough how much Zac brings to the team in the kitchen. His dedication to a task is really unparalleled and it’s been amazing have seen him grow into a confident baker over the last year. He loves the routine of perfecting one dish again and again, until he has absolutely nailed the 384 portions of orange and polenta cake he makes each week with us.”