James Crook, a Tameside College bakery student and former Trinity Christian School pupil, has been placed third in the Village Hotel ‘village baker’ competition.

The competition, which took place at the Village Hotel, Bury, saw bakers from Tameside College, Bury College and the hotel chain’s restaurant compete against the clock, in a series of heats. The event is part of the company’s ‘hospitality heroes’ initiative to support trainees in the industry.

Students were asked to come up with a twist on classic, cream and scones and bake choux pastry in a skills test.

Judges for the competition included: Candice Brown - winner of the Great British Bake Off, Aiden Byrne - owner of Restaurant MCR, Mark Bennett - Village Hotel’s executive chef and Paul Roberts - Village Hotel’s chief executive.

Faye Kerley, also a bakery student at Tameside College, took part in the competition alongside James. Both students received an engraved chef’s knife and Village Hotel vouchers from the organisers.

James, said: “I’m so shocked that I came third in this competition. I was quite nervous to compete against professional pastry chefs so it’s given me a boost to know I can do it. I’d like to thank my teacher, Stella, for all the advice, guidance and encouragement she has given me. It was great to meet Candice Brown too, she is so nice and gave me some great feedback. I had a brilliant time.”

Stella Collins, bakery teacher at Tameside College, said: “James and Faye have shown that their skills and creativity in bakery are something to be proud of. It was a great day for the both of them as they were given the chance to compete against trainee chefs working in the industry and other students. They also met and discussed tips and tricks with some big names in the baking industry, which is invaluable.”

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