Nottingham College Hospitality and Catering students got the chance to work alongside MasterChef: The Professionals 2017 finalist Louisa Ellis earlier this month (6th March) as part of a special restaurant takeover at the College’s commercial training restaurant in the Lace Market.

The trainee chefs helped to prep, cook, plate and serve an impressive five-course gourmet tasting menu which Louisa created especially for the event. The modern menu included: crayfish bisque with chervil and apple and a dry aged sirloin with artichoke and aniseed sauce.

Louisa, 24, has been working professionally as a chef for the past eight years, working in Michelin star kitchens, including Birmingham’s Adams Restaurant and more recently Nottingham’s Restaurant Sat Bains. Louisa is now based in Nottingham and is busy following her dream of becoming a Private Chef – offering dining experiences in clients’ homes.

She said: “I really enjoy working with the students and passing on my skills - this is our next generation of chefs and I feel it is important to give them as many opportunities and restaurant experiences as possible.”

Proceeds from the evening were donated to The Old Needle Works charity, which provides learning and support for people who have mental health, low self-esteem and confidence issues.

Louisa explains: “I chose to raise money for this particular mental health charity because I think it is a great cause to help people get back on track and make the most out of life. Everyone experiences mental health issues in life and especially in busy kitchens! I think it’s important to remind people that they are not alone when they may feel like it’s the end of the world.”

Aspiring chef Amy Challoner, 17, from Mapperley, helped supervise as part of the takeover, and has been lucky enough to work alongside Louisa in her spare time whilst studying the Level 3 Professional Chefs Diploma at College.

She said: “I first had the opportunity to meet Louisa last year at College when she did another Adams Restaurant takeover with other finalists from MasterChef: The Professionals, then in October I volunteered to help her with a pop-up event she was running in Hockley, at Cotton Mouth. From there I helped her with some private dinner parties, and I’ve continued to do this ever since.

“Louisa is so amazing to work with and I’m really grateful for the experience she has given me. I’ve learnt so much from her as a person and from the way she thinks about different ingredients and her style of cooking.

“Going into people’s homes and cooking in their kitchen, right in front of them, can be daunting, and to be honest I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it, but it’s so nice to interact with the client, and even though it can be a lot of pressure, I really enjoy it and it’s helped so much with my confidence.”

Louisa added: “Amy is a dedicated student who I took a liking to straight away. She reminds me of myself when I was her age - passionate, ambitious and hard working. She often helps me at events and is a great chef to work with. She’s a quick learner and has a good sense of judgment when under pressure in the kitchen. I predict great things for her in the future.”

The Adams Restaurant, located in the historic Adams Building, in the Lace Market area of Nottingham, hosts regular themed evenings. 

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