‘Giving back’ was the key message behind a charity lunch cooked by students from Havant & South Downs College (HSDC) and Royal Navy chefs on Thursday, 28 March.

Chefs and stewards from the Royal Navy visited the HSDC restaurant to cook for members of the public and raise money for local charity, Rowans Hospice.

HSDC runs a catering course for the bereaved in partnership with Rowans Hospice, where members of the Rowans Friendship Group who have lost a loved one are able to learn new skills and recipes from lecturer Laura Skye.

Rowans Friendship Group members also attended the lunch. June Barratt said: “The highlight of the course for me was making friends, which I thought I would struggle to do, but it has been fantastic. Everybody has been so lovely, and it has encouraged me to cook again.

“We have all benefitted from the hospice and continue to do so, so we want to give back in any way we can. The Rowans Hospice really saved my life.”

Ann Cooper said: “I have learnt lots of new techniques and it has taught me a different way of thinking about food. I have learnt about batch cooking and things like that.”

Students and Royal Navy chefs cooked a four-course meal for guests, including smoked lamb loin with pickled cucumber, cider cured sea trout with crab sauce, pan seared duck breast and a frozen chocolate and hazelnut delice.

Catering student James Cardy said: “It’s been a great new experience cooking alongside the Royal Navy chefs, it’s definitely different seeing how they run a kitchen. It’s great to watch and learn from their way of doing things and how they plate up.

“It’s great to be cooking to raise money for Rowans Hospice today, by us doing something small and cooking a lunch like we would normally do we are also giving back to a brilliant local charity.”

Warrant Officer at the Royal Navy, Paul Jones, said: “Today’s lunch is an initiative developed by my commander and catering lecturer Iain Baillie, it’s a really good opportunity for our chefs and stewards to come and work with the students and to be doing it for a good cause as well.

“I am really blown away with the Havant & South Downs College students today, they have been really engaging and willing to learn and they’re responsive to training. I know they will cook and serve lunches and dinners regularly which is great to prepare them for industry, but it’s also good for them to have a bit of a different catering experience and see how we do things.

“Cancer touches so many people’s lives and most people will know someone who has had cancer - the things that Rowans Hospice does really is amazing.”

The lunch finished with a cheque presentation to Rowans Hospice for £1,600.

Chief Executive of Rowans Hospice, Ruth White, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be here and to be receiving this cheque for Rowans Hospice which has come out of this marvelous collaboration between HSDC and the Royal Navy. The food has been absolutely fabulous.”

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