Mayor reveals her soft centre

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SHE’s dished up dinner for celebrities, made her own chocolate for a living and even cooked for a king.

And this week, as mayor Debbie Brock prepares to complete her busy year of office, she has revealed the secret of her eventful career.

It is, she says, all down to work experience, apprenticeships and generally links between education and business.

“At 14 I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do,” she admits. “Work experience is massively important because it gives you a taste of what’s to come.”

Debbie developed an interest in cookery and began by enrolling at the Cordon Bleu school in London, commuting every day from Olney and cheerfully doing her homework on the bus.

She then travelled abroad doing various catering jobs, including cooking for Sir Yehudi Menuhin and also the former King and Queen of Greece.

Deciding to specialise as a pastry chef, she then completed an apprenticeship at the Cafe Gmeiner in Germany.

The German for apprentice is ‘gesellen’, meaning journeyman, and the experience was a huge learning journey, says Debbie.

“You never stop learning. The thing is to enjoy what you’re doing. I used to put myself up for Sunday shifts so I could learn as much as possible.”

Debbie returned from Germany in 1998 and set up her own chocolate-making business called Brocks Chocolates in Newport Pagnell, where she took on a steady flow of work experience youngsters.

“I think anybody can be an entrepreneur, run with an idea and get the best out of others. But it’s not for those who want the easy way,” she says.

The mother of a three-year-old daughter, she got into politics when she met her husband, Peter.

“Being Mayor has been the most amazing experience and a privilege. It has helped me understand Milton Keynes as a fantastic place to live, work and relax.”

She now plans to spend time working with the Cenotaph Trust and helping develop the MK Hospitality and Catering Awards.

> Anyone willing to host a work experience student can call Michael Sandison at Countec on MK 209940.