From left: Les Diables’ Peter Webber, BISP Headmaster Neil Richards, Director of the Art & Design Academy Claire Lester.

“What I wanted to be most when growing up was an artist. But there was nothing like this [the BISP Art & Design Academy] when I was at school, and those days art students had long hair, supposedly did nasty things, and ‘didn’t have a brain’, as my father would say,” says BISP Headmaster Neil Richards, “so I studied history instead, became a teacher, and eventually a self-taught painter – maybe one day if you’re lucky I’ll show you my work.”

Mr Richards was speaking at the launch of the school’s new BISP Art & Design Academy, which marked its inaugural class today (Thursday, September 11) with the announcement of a unique project to create new artistic signage for the Les Diables patisserie and restaurant in Boat Lagoon, helmed by celebrated British chef Peter Webber.

Having started his career at The Inn on The Park in London, Peter gained his first executive pastry chef position at The Savoy. As part of his role, he was sent around the world to do promotions, including one at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Bangkok. After a time spent in Dubai, he moved back to Thailand to become executive pastry chef at the Mandarin Oriental, where he once served Queen Elizabeth II. After 14 years, he moved to Phuket, where he has been ever since.

“I would have loved to have been an artist, but my calling was as a chef. At school I entered a Christmas cake competition and won first prize. For me, putting icing on a cake is like putting paint on canvas. That’s why for my sign I want something creative, and I look forward to seeing what ideas the new BISP Art & Design Academy comes up with.”

In his closing remarks, Mr Richards said: “I wish I’d had the opportunity you have now. This academy will give you something vital to put on your CV, and prepare you for being an artist in the real world. The biggest single complaint today of employers about graduates is that they have no experience of the real world. This academy will give you that edge.”

For more information, contact Claire Lester: [email protected]

Click here to watch our video with Director of the Art & Design Academy Claire Lester.