Medicinal Chef, Dale Pinnock, reflects on his time at CRC

Medicinal Chef, Dale Pinnock

Dale Pinnock is a medicinal chef, Sunday Times best-selling author, nutritionist, presenter and former Cambridge Regional College student. We caught up with Dale on his recent visit to the Cambridge campus to film nutritional features with the BBC Morning Live team.

“In my early education I kind of messed about a bit and didn’t do a great deal to secure a solid future. I didn’t have a passion for what I was doing at the time, and I wasn’t in a position to think ahead to what I wanted to do next. Like many others at that age, I was a little bit lost just trying to find my way in life. Upon leaving school, I spent several years in employment, in some grotty jobs at times, and it gave me an acute taste of what I did not want from life. This period in my life was the best teacher for me.

As I got older, I realised that nutrition was my passion and I knew that I would have to extend my education if I was going to have a successful career. It was at this time that I decided to study at Cambridge Regional College on an Access to Higher Education course. The structure of the Access to Science allowed me to piece together the units, so I opted for Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and an additional unit, Philosophy.

My career is varied, and it has taken me to some exciting places. None of that would have been possible if I hadn’t taken that initial step with Cambridge Regional College.

I had a fantastic time at CRC and made some of my lifelong friends. I found the learning very different from secondary school, mostly because I was there out of choice. I was at college because I wanted to be there, and I was studying subjects that I was interested in. I finally knew what I wanted to do, and I started to plan my career pathway by thinking ahead the whole time. I worked out my ultimate goal and what I needed to do to get there. With that mentality, I was able to work towards each goal a step at a time, harnessing my passion as I moved forward. I believe that this approach carries through into how well you perform in many aspects of life. 

After completing my Access course, I progressed to Kingston University to complete a BSc degree in Human Nutrition, following which I did a second BSc degree in Nutritional Therapy. I completed my education with a Masters in Medicinal Nutrition at the University of Surrey. Since completing my studies, my career journey has been incredible.

When I first started out, I knew I was 100% unemployable, in that I would never have succeeded while working for someone else. I am so driven and focussed on where I want to be and what I need to do to get there, that I needed the autonomy and freedom to keep moving forward in my own way. If I had an Idea, I would figure out a way to realise that idea to make it happen. If the idea didn’t work, that was a lesson. I never viewed failure as something bad, what makes the difference is whether you let it get the better of you or stand back up and use the knowledge and experience gained from that learning experience to figure out the way forward.

It took me 12 years to get on TV; after having hundreds of doors slammed in my face I could have easily just given up, but I kept going and going and going. I am now a best-selling author, I have set up a nutrition school, which is now operating as one of the largest in the world and I now do a lot of television.

“If you are getting ready to leave school or college, don’t feel as though you should have it all figured out. No one should feel as though they have to know where to go or what to do next, right there and then. A little life experience and some time will help you to work out your future and for those that already know what their passion is, make sure you stand out and make things happen.”

Find out more about Access to Higher Education at CRC.

Dale can currently be seen sharing his nutritional expertise as co-host on Eat, Shop, Save.

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