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Hackney's Vibrant Restaurant Scene Swelled By A New Entrant Focused on Preparing London's Future Culinary Talents

A new restaurant has opened in Hackney's vibrant restaurant scene, mixing commercial focus with a strong ethos for training the next generation of UK culinary staff.

OKN1, located on Hoxton Street, is a new joint commercial and training restaurant at the New City College's Hackney campus created with Des McDonald Associates.

Opened seven days a week, OKN1 will give culinary students at the Hackney campus the opportunity to work in the restaurant and be paid working next to the professionals including the head chef and restaurant manager and his team. This will give them the students a real insight into the world of commercial restaurants and the expectations of them in providing service to the public.

At its opening, the college and OKN1 lived up to their promise, with three ex-culinary students from the Hackney campus working in the restaurant as chefs.

Speaking at the launch opening, Gerry McDonald, CEO and Principal New City College said:

It's fantastic to open our new restaurant, which will deliver real work experience to our culinary students. It is the perfect marriage between having a professional team running the restaurant and leading and training our students who will work here preparing real food for real paying customers.

New City College has worked closely with restaurant consultant Des McDonald Associates to redevelop its existing training kitchen, previously known as Open Kitchen, to make it more fitting for the new vibrant restaurant scene in Hackney.

Des McDonald, CEO of Des McDonald Associates said at the launch:

We wanted to impart our passion for this industry and make it real and exciting. It is so important for our industry to ensure a good flow of highly trained and competent staff and this is a great approach to doing that.

One of the three ex-students working in the restaurant is Scott, chef de partie at OKN1 who said:

I left the college a year ago and went to work. My teachers really inspired me and I wanted to come back to this new restaurant to show the students that their dream is possible.

OKN1 is located at 40 Hoxton Street serving a modern European menu of seasonal produce.

Hackney's Vibrant Restaurant Scene Swelled By A New Entrant Focused on Preparing London's Future Culinary Talents