Head chefs from two of Angela Hartnett’s top restaurants were welcomed into Havant & South Downs College’s kitchen to cook alongside students earlier this month.

Luke Holder, from Lime Wood and Emily Brightman and from the Michelin-starred Murano, paid a visit to the South Downs Campus Restaurant on 8 May to recreate some dishes from their own restaurants whilst teaching Catering students new skills.

Students helped to prepare a menu of seared scallops, spinach and ricotta agnolotti and pork belly and loin with a fennel puree for the VIP Staff Awards Dinner with Principal and Chief Executive, Mike Gaston.

Emily said: “All the students have been getting stuck in with preparing and cooking tonight’s food, the girls have seared the scallops and the boys have been prepping the broad beans and peas.”

HSDC runs the Angela Hartnett Cooking Academy, a Level 3 Professional Cookery Diploma, designed for budding chefs already committed to the cookery profession. As part of the Academy, top chefs associated with Angela Hartnett visit the College’s restaurant to help develop the skills of current students.

Luke said: “Once a year, senior chefs from all of her properties come down to HSDC to cook alongside students to prepare a dinner and try to inspire them. In my kitchen I currently have four students who have progressed from HSDC, and in the past I have had around seven or eight.

“It’s so important for us as head chefs to get these guys on board and to see how they progress. It’s a challenging industry in some aspects but it’s a very rewarding industry as well.”

Speaking about the teaching at learning within the Catering & Hospitality Department at the College, Luke said: “You need people at this end with the passion lecturers like Iain Baillie has, otherwise the industry would be on its knees. You look around the restaurant and see the pictures of guest chefs HSDC has had in here, the opportunities Iain provides for the students is ridiculous really.

“Some past students from HSDC are now working with Emily at Murano and I know there are some going for their student placements at The Fat Duck, it’s phenomenal really.”

Emily added: “Henry, who I have brought along today to work with the students, originally came from here and has now been at Murano for two years. He’s doing a really good job I’m really happy with him, he’s really excelling.”   

Giving advice for future students, Emily added: “For students thinking about their careers I would say take in as much information as you can, write stuff down, learn at home and push yourself outside of College as well.

“It is hard work but it pays off, you have to love it to do it.”

Luke said: “With anything in life, if you want to be good at something you have to be committed. Going to work for the right people for you is really important in the beginning. It’s difficult to figure that out when you’re just starting off but that’s why we come down and that’s why HSDC’s students are given so many different opportunities.”

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