They took part in Salon Culinaire, one of the UK’s largest chef competition programmes, held at the Great Hospitality Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
The event comprises 85 competition categories and attracts chefs from top restaurants, hotels and national organisations as well as universities and colleges.
Ten students, completing catering, hospitality and professional chef qualifications, won a gold medal and best in class in La Parade Des Chefs College Canapé Competition. They were mentored by Len Unwin and Maxene Gray. Two other catering lecturers also won silver medals in other categories.
Len Unwin, Catering Lecturer, said: "Our job is to prepare students for work and life and taking part in these events really boosts their self confidence, skills and employment prospects. They get to network with chefs from top establishments in the country, who are looking to recruit."
Based on a seaside theme, their canapés included chicken liver parfait hotdog with onion glaze; Yorkshire fishcake and tartare sauce; crab and Waldorf cornet with salty fingers; and salted caramel donuts.
Maxene Gray, Catering Lecturer, added: "I am so proud of our students. It takes 100% commitment to succeed in these competitions. Our students spent time on their days off to prepare. They put a lot of thought into the menu as well as the design and creative presentation of the food with seaside inspired props. We also had fantastic support from the College’s sign making department."
Students had a total of three hours to prepare and make the dishes. To add to the experience for diners, they created a seaside set with buckets and spades, deck chairs and lighthouses.
Student Naomi Newton, aged 18, who is completing the Professional Chef’s Diploma, commented: "It feels brilliant that our team won gold. It wasn’t too nerve-wracking taking part as we prepared really well for it."
Lecturers Gregg Rodgers and Chris Kerrigan also both won individual silver medals in their classes. Gregg Rodgers made a pirate sculpture from fat using traditional carving techniques and won best in his class, as well as the silver medal. He said: "I spent 60 hours creating the sculpture, which I had to keep cool in the fridge before taking it to the competition to present."
He explained: "I used an armature made of chicken wire and PVC pipe to create a framework to build a sculpture, that I then wrapped in bandages covered in fat. You build up the sculpture layer by layer. It’s a bit like using plaster of Paris but you are working with fat instead! It’s an old-fashioned skill and I love being able to master that."
Salon Culinaire ran over three days from January 23rd to 25th to showcase the industry’s skills and talent. For more information, visit http://www.hospitalityshow.co.uk/
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