January was a busy month for our Catering students; they worked with top local chefs, visited the De Vere Hotel in the Cotswolds, and even took part in a national competition.
At the start of the month, the students were lucky enough to be visited by and cook with two Executive Chefs: Samuel Squires from The Old Crown Faringdon and Richard Yearnshire from The De Vere at the Cotswold Water Park.
Samuel treated students to a masterclass and showed them how to cook a variety of dishes including venison tartare, poached halibut and lobster tail. This was followed by a visit from Richard Yearnshire and Stuart Hall (Head Chef at the De Vere) where students created Asian-inspired dishes. Both chefs spoke to students about what it is like to be a chef and the essential skills that are needed. The students also visited the De Vere Hotel for a private tour and made pizzas!
As if that wasn’t enough, just before Christmas three of our catering students entered a Gallo Risotto competition. The three lucky students made it through to the heats which took place in mid-January. As part of the competition, they created a risotto dish each. Speaking about their experience, the students said: “The competition had a great atmosphere; we were all prepared as we had two sessions with our lecturers beforehand to test out our recipes. On the day of the heats, we were provided with all of the ingredients to create our recipes. It was also good practice to cook in a different environment. Although we didn’t get into the final, it was a great experience and an amazing opportunity for us.”
January also saw the re-opening of The Restaurant and The Coffee Shop with students spending a week testing out the new menus in advance. The Restaurant, which is open to staff, students and the public, offers three-course meals priced at as little as £8.95, focusing on both high-quality food and service.