Future stars of the catering industry shone when they took part in a catering competition organised by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College to showcase their skills. The hospitality and catering team is an integral part of the college and last year won a Silver Pearson National Teaching Award. Eighteen of its own students joined their peers to take part in a range of cookery and hospitality challenges, picking up seven Gold medals in total.
More than 70 students travelled to the college’s Nuneaton campus to compete in the event held on Tuesday 28 January. Colleges taking part included City of Liverpool College, South & City Birmingham College, Cheshire College and Central Bedfordshire College.
Judged by high profile figures from within the catering industry, students from all levels took on complex tasks including preparing a scallop dish, street food challenge, risotto challenge, mackerel filleting, themed table setting and napkin folding.
Students from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College scooped a total of five Best in Class awards, seven Gold medals, 11 Silver, five Bronze and four Certificates of Merit. Best front of house student from the college was awarded to Euan Brindley, with best college chef being won by Ryan Howarth. The culinary champions and best visiting college team was City of Liverpool College.
High profile judges included the Chair of the British Culinary Federation, Stuart McLeod, who has led many three and four AA Rosette restaurants and worked at the Savoy in London and Gleneagles in Scotland. Stuart said, “I have been pleased to see so many students with great technical skills, following excellent hygiene principles and brimming with confidence. I am always delighted to provide a boost to new entrants to the industry and help address the skills shortages that we face as an industry.”
Judge Mark Fletcher, Executive Chef at The Mere Golf Resort & Spa in Knutsford has over 20 years’ experience creating dishes within Michelin starred restaurants and leading hotels around the UK. Mark said, “It is great to see so much fresh new talent coming through from further education. We need to train the chefs of the future and leave the industry in good hands and events like this provide an excellent platform for them to test their skills. The competition standard has been very high, and I wish the students well in the future careers.”
Jason Thacker, lecturer in hospitality and catering at the College, and organiser of the Salon Culinaire said, “Today’s event has been another great success and I am proud of all the students who took part in all our challenges. They have produced an impressive standard of work and performed well under pressure. We’re also delighted with the level of industry support we have received and I’m grateful to our sponsors MCS, Hobart, Wrapmaster, Roller Grill, Russums, Tilda and Major, and to all those who provided products and ingredients.”
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “We’re delighted to have welcomed so many students from other colleges to our Nuneaton Campus today for our Salon Culinaire and we hope that all competitors have enjoyed taking part. This competition, which is organised annually by our hospitality and catering team, is a fantastic example of how further education colleges work so well with industry to provide students with high quality experiences in a live setting and help to open doors and introduce them to new contacts.”