College catering students through to culinary finals

Ledbury Reporter: Lorna Cooke receiving feedback from one of the judges in the regional heat. Lorna Cooke receiving feedback from one of the judges in the regional heat.

CATERING students at a county college knew the recipe for success when they competed in a regional competition.

The two teams of Herefordshire and Ludlow student chefs took first and third place at the regional heats of the Brakes Student Chef Team Challenge 2014 – hosted by the college in the training kitchens.

The three winning level-three students Kelly Tipton, Jake Morgan and Lorna Cooke will be competing in April’s live final against seven other UK teams held as part of Hotelympia 2014.

Lorna said after the heat: “We’re really happy to have won. A few hiccups on the way but we worked through them. We still have a lot to work on for the final and we’re going to make the very most of the judge’s feedback.”

Brakes has received a record number of entries for the 2013/14 Student Chef Team Challenge, the UK's premier competition for student chefs.

With 87 teams from colleges throughout the UK entering paper entries, numbers have risen for the fourth consecutive year as the competition continues to go from strength to strength.

This is the first year the college has hosted the South-West regional heat and welcomed top judges including chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs Christopher Basten, head of business development chefs team, Mark Irish, and development director for Zuidam, Stuart Mcloud.

HLC chef tutor, Stuart Leggett, said: “Welcoming this calibre of chefs to our restaurant and all of the other talented teams was an absolute pleasure and I am thrilled everyone enjoyed the day so much. To have the level-two team gain third place is fantastic and I am so pleased to see the level-three team progress to the finals, a great performance all round.”

The winning team in the competition, which is sponsored by BD Foods and ABP Food Group and supported by the Craft Guild of Chefs, will receive a once in a lifetime five-day work experience week.

That is along with an invitation to join and assist the Craft Guild of Chefs (CGoC) culinary team at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg.

The theme for the 2013/14 challenge is 'back to basics', with Brakes asking teams to present a menu that embraces the modern trend for clean, well portioned and precisely executed cuisine.

Mark Irish, competition judge and head of development chefs at Brakes, said: "It has been an excellent heat – competitive, with bags of energy and a lot of visible communication and teamwork. There were some highs in all of the team’s dishes and of course some lows, which is always the case when you are learning and pushing your skills hard. I hope all the students really engaged with the experience and it helps them in their careers in the industry."

In addition to this year's unique prizes, the winning students will also receive a six-piece Global Knives set, a competition jacket, a year's free membership to the CGoC, framed certificates and the coveted winner’s plaque.

There will also be a commemorative award plate, medals and framed certificates courtesy of Hotelympia. Further prizes will be on offer to all regional heat and competition final teams.

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