8 May 2019

Chef's Academy and Lifestyle Academy - Newcastle College

I've been going to the Lifestyle Academy at Newcastle College for a few years now for holistic treatments (their amazing prices suited my erratic self-employed budget). I've been to a few events at the Chef's Academy too, but not nearly enough. 

If you've never had the pleasure of going, you can experience ridiculously affordable, top-notch menus and foodie events (the menus change every two weeks) at the Chef's Academy. Student chefs learn their trade here, supervised by experienced chefs in a professional environment. Past events have seen collaborations with top chefs from across the region. All of the ingredients they use are locally sourced, teaching the students about regional produce. 

The Lifestyle Academy trains future spa, beauty and holistic therapists/hair stylists and offers spa treatments and hair services at heavily discounted prices at The Retreat. Treatments include massages, facials and other holistic therapies (click here for the 2018/19 price list). Professional products used in the spa include Elemis, Dermalogica, Spa Find and Environ - you can buy them from the reception.

I went for lunch before having a treatment (probably the right way around, otherwise I would have dropped off at the table). I was instantly impressed by the range of the menu, offering meat, seafood and vegetarian options for each course. After being to the Northumberland Coast a couple of weeks ago I was still in the mood for seafood so I went for the Craster crab and the filet of coley.

Lifestyle Academy Newcastle College
The lunch menu at the Chef's Academy 
I was struck by how attentive the waiting staff were, and the view. The crab starter involved toasted sourdough bread, topped with brown crab meat beneath a white crab meat salad (mixed with creme fraiche, lemon juice, chives, cayenne pepper and mayo) and watercress. It was delicious; I don't usually eat the brown meat but served this way it was amazing. 

Chefs Academy Newcastle College
The delicious Craster Crab starter
The fish main course was full of flavour - a perfectly cooked filet of coley on a bed of bright yellow, saffron-coloured orzo pasta with mussels and chorizo atop neon green wild garlic oil. The orzo was cooked in mussel stock and is now top of my list of new ingredients to try out at home (it's like a cross between pasta and paella rice). By this point I was starting to get quite full, so I'm not quite sure why I opted for a filling cheeseboard (I think it had just been since I'd had a cheeseboard).

Lunch Newcastle College
The filey of coley on orzo was divine 
The cheeseboard featured four different cheeses (a brie, a blue, a cheddar and a hard cheese) served with walnuts, chutney, celery, grapes and a variety of crackers. The cheese was delicious (especially the brie) and paired with a bold Shiraz (thanks for the recommendation) it was the perfect way to end the meal (even though I couldn't finish it all). 

A top-notch cheese board 
After speaking to the Head Chef about the food and the training I was a bit late for my facial appointment, and was ready for a lie down to be honest! Cameron came and introduced herself and took me into one of the lovely treatment rooms (there's fourteen of them) and explained my treatment - A Dermalogica prescription facial (just £14.50). I got myself comfy on the massage bed and she got to work - cleansing my skin with Pre-Cleanse and Ultracalming Cleanser, then toning with Ultracalming Mist before exfoliating and giving me one of the best facial massages I've ever had (the massage cream made my skin feel really soft). This was followed by a Colloidal masque which is great for dehydrated skin before moisturising with Active Moist, one of my favourite moisturisers. My skin was drying out in certain areas beforehand and ended up feeling so hydrated and soft. I ended up buying a Dermalogica travel kit to sort out my dryness. I think so highly of this facial so much I'm going to have it every month. 

To get a top quality three course lunch and an hour-long spa treatment for the combined price of £25 is pretty amazing and a big reason why the restaurant and the spa are so busy. You can also combine the two for a daytime Catch Up With Friends (manicure, Dermalogica facial and two course lunch) and an Evening Pamper Package (back massage, facial and two course evening meal), both for just £25. 

Remember to check out the spa timetable for opening hours and treatment availability - call 0191 2004600 or email Kerianne.Leask@ncl-coll.ac.uk for appointments. 

Call - 0191 2004644 to book into the restaurant. It's closed on Mondays, Lunch is available Tuesday to  Friday and Dinner Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

*I received a three course lunch and a facial in exchange for a review

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