Monthly talk

It has become a tradition at Beccles U3A for the monthly meeting to be followed by a Guest Speaker. As you will see from the list below, the subjects are very varied. With topics ranging from a personal story of climbing Mount Everest to the incredible story of the 25-year strike at our local Burston School, they are not to be missed.

The monthly talk takes place immediately after the Monthly Meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10.30 at Beccles Public Hall.


Wed 21 November 2018:- Richard Hughes A Career in the Hospitality Industry

Richard’s career has taken him from a hotel pot wash to a Michelin-starred kitchen, and from his first restaurant opened with £200 in the bank to Director of Norwich’s premier venue, The Assembly House in Norwich.

Beginning his career in the kitchen as a 15-year-old at The Imperial Hotel in Great Yarmouth, Richard opened his first restaurant - Number 24 in Wymondham – in 1991. During his 11 years in Wymondham he also taught at the Hotel School at Norwich City College and began his popular, and still running, Step by Step column in EDP Norfolk Magazine. In 2002, he left Wymondham to open The Lavender House at Brundall to national acclaim, and very shortly after founded the Richard Hughes Cookery School, winning the inaugural British Cookery School of the Year award.

In 2017 he relocated the school to The Assembly House in Norwich where he is Chef Director. This purpose-designed cookery school allows Richard to share his lifelong passion for food with an ever-growing audience of all ages and abilities. With numerous awards and accolades to his name Richard is still as passionate as ever and continues to inspire a host of cooks including children’s sessions. He has also teamed up with a training provider to offer apprentices greater insight of life in the hospitality sector.

Richard’s talk was extremely humorous and featured many anecdotes about his career along the way. One was how when he bought the Wymondham restaurant his mother slept in a camp bed on the floor there with her sewing machine in order to make the curtains and tablecloths in time for the opening which was less than a week after purchase.

Another was how difficult it was to raise the funds from banks in order to purchase a restaurant, but evidently raising money for building a conservatory was easy – it transpired he was known in the banking world as Mr. Four Conservatories!

He also gave us a live demonstration of the best way to cut an onion.The trick is not to cut the root, which releases the majority of the sulphurous gases which can make you cry.

  • Peel the onion, leaving the root intact
  • Slice off the top (not the root).
  • Make parallel cuts from the end, being careful not to chop through the root
  • Then turn onion 90 degrees to make cuts across onion

His Cookery School offers various opportunities from cooking with Richard himself to meeting famous local supplies and includes classes on baking and pastry, fish dishes, chocolate, men only classes and vegan cooking plus various different cuisines such as French, Italian, Scandinavian, African and Spanish.

Visit his website for more details:

Thank you Vicki John for writing this report

Wed 19 December 2018:- Christmas Meeting

Wed 16 January 2019:- Dr Stephen Ashworth Lasers - how they work

Wed 20 February 2019:- Graham Higgins Tales from the Bench - a magistrate reviews his work

Wed 20 March 2019:- Sally Dearman Women CAN fly - a female pilot talks of her experiences

Review Past Monthly Talks