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PassiontoInspire - CRC team.jpgThe
kitchens and Debut Restaurant at City College Norwich were the venue for the
grand final of “A Passion to Inspire”
this week, with Cambridge Regional College winning out in a tough competition
between four student teams from the East of England.

 

The
heats and final of “A Passion to
Inspire”
stand out from other hospitality and catering skills
competitions because of their focus on every aspect of the process, from
students’ knowledge of produce, to designing and costing their menus, and
exceptional front of house presentation and service of food and drink.

 

The
competition also seeks to bring added benefits to the participating students
and colleges by creating new links between professional chefs, suppliers of
local produce and further education. 

 

To
reach the final on Monday 9th June, the teams of three students from
four colleges (Cambridge Regional College, City College Norwich, Colchester
Institute and West Suffolk College) had to come through an earlier round of
heats, with over 90 students being involved and inspired.

 

The
student teams were each made up of two chefs and one front of house member.
Prior to the final, each student team was paired with a top local chef and
given a day’s mentoring and experience. 

 

The
chef mentors were: Eric Snaith, Head Chef of Tichwell Manor (mentoring the City
College Norwich students); Ian Rhodes, General Manager and Executive Chef of
LeTalbooth restaurant (Colchester Institute); Stuart Ascott, Chef at The
Leaping Hare (West Suffolk College); and James Circuit, Executive Head Chef of
Corpus Christi College (Cambridge Regional College).

 

For
the final, each team had just 2 and a half hours in which to produce a three
course meal for four covers. The students were challenged to come up with their
own creative and personal dishes, with the same set of ingredients to work
from.

 

The
competition judges – Shara Ross (Director and General Manager of Hotel Felix),
Paul Boorman (Executive Chef at Wivenhoe House), Paul Foster (Head Chef of
Mallory Court), Nick Mills (Managing Director of Brasted’s) and Mark Poynton
(Chef Patron of Restaurant Alimentum) – scored the students on all aspects of
the preparation and service of their dishes, from working methods and hygiene,
to seasonality and flavour of the dishes, to the students’ timing and
presentation at the table.  

 

Following
a high quality demonstration of skills and knowledge from all of the finalists,
Cambridge Regional College’s team of Alice Kingham, Jo Start and Kieren Hurry
were announced as the worthy winners of “A
Passion to Inspire” 2014
.

 

The
CRC team’s winning dishes were: Confit salmon with crispy skin and pickled
vegetables, buckthorn leaves and a citrus  dressing; Pigeon breast with
braised leg croquette, potato terrine, spinach, glazed carrots, pig’s ear
granola and a berry jus; and a dessert of “Millionaires Shortbread”
shortbread crumble with salted caramel, chocolate ganache, brown butter
ice-cream and a mixed berry compote.

 

The
three winning students were presented with a commemorative Steelite plate and
places to attend the prestigious Skills for Chefs annual conference.  All
of the finalists received membership of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Steelite
plates, a tasting menu at Michelin star Restaurant Alimentum and catering
equipment and Jackets from Russums.

 

“A Passion to Inspire” 2014
was supported by great
partners Skills for
Chefs, Craft Guild of Chefs, Steelite Plates, Loch Duart, Anglian Free
Range Eggs, Direct Meats, CK Meats, Anglia Produce, Gourmet Classic, Dingley
Dell Pork, Callebaut Chocolate, Freedom Food and Russums.

 

Murray
Chapman, Co-ordinator of “A Passion to
Inspire”
, commented:

 

“Ninety
five students have been involved with this year’s “A Passion to Inspire” competition which is a massive
number.  This competition is all about bringing together those in the
industry, chefs and suppliers, with college lecturers and their students in
order to inspire the next generation of hospitality and catering
professionals.  A big thanks to Mark
Bradly and all at City College Norwich for their hospitality in hosting the
final and helping to make it such a great day.”  

 

Nick
Mills, Managing Director of Brasteds and one of the judges
,
added:

 

“The
standard of competition was immensely high this year. All of the teams
demonstrated excellent service front of house and attention to detail.”

 

Mark Poynton, Chef Patron,
Restaurant Alimentum
, added:

 

“It
is always a pleasure to work with young inspired people, it gives you faith
that our industry has a great future.”

 

Alice
Kingham, from the winning Cambridge Regional College
team
said:

 

“I
was really pleased with how our salmon course came out.  My favourite part
of the day was meeting everybody else and finding out what they do and I’ve
also learned to be more confident in myself.”

 

Heather
Hapogoda, a Professional Cookery level 3 student on the City College Norwich
team

said:

 

“It
has been a great experience taking part in the competition.  I very much
enjoyed working as part of a team and improving my cocktail-making skills. I
made my first Martini today.”

 

 

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