He started his catering career at The Savoy Hotel in London, travelling to Zurich to study with the sugar craft master Ewald Notta before joining the college in 1974.
Colleague Louise Ashworth said: “Iain is such a talented lecturer and he has inspired so many students at Blackburn College.
“Past students include Nigel Smith who has worked with Albert Roux, filmed for UK Food and is currently a UK Brand Ambassador for Miele, and Jon Sharpe who is Director of Product Management EMEA at Hilton Worldwide.
“Iain has always gone the extra mile and accompanied students to competitions and work experience placements in Cape Town, France, Spain and Denmark.
Steele, who taught Level 3 Diploma Professional Cookery and specialised in sugar craft, said: “It has been such a pleasure to watch so many students succeed and grow and I can’t believe how quickly 44 years has flown.
“I plan to spend my retirement jetting across the globe, spending time with my grandchildren in Cyprus and Suffolk and returning to Africa where I was born.”
PICTURE: Level 2 Food and Beverage Service students Katie Edwards and Maria Marchese with Iain Steele