Culinary Arts & Hospitality students, ranging from Level 1 to Level 3 and Apprentices, compete in the first round of the A Passion to Inspire culinary competition for college students.
Working in teams of 3, the students had previously spent time creating and perfecting a two-course menu, paired with wine and cocktail to compliment the dishes and on the day of the competition, they worked to recreate their dishes, set-up front of house and impress the judges with their catering and hospitality skills.
Head of Culinary Arts Service Industries Team Leader, Graham Taylor said, “The Passion to Inspire competition gives our students first-hand experience of the pressures of a real-life production kitchen and front of house. The students are preparing their dishes for a dining room of guests, so there is a level of expectation. It is a great way for them learn how to stay focussed on the task in hand while remaining calm in a pressurised environment. I am extremely proud of their approach to this challenge.”
Guest judges, Head Chef, Sam Carter and Sommelier, Piers Gibson-Birch from Restaurant 22, Executive Chef, Sebastian Mansfield from Corpus Christi College and Executive Chef, Lee Cooper, Bedford Lodge were present throughout the day, observing the teams as they worked in the production kitchen and prepared front of house for service. Piers judged the dining presentation, cocktail making and wine pairing for each team, while Sam, Sebastian and Lee talked to the chefs about their choice of dish and methods used. As if that wasn’t enough pressure, approximately one hour into preparation, the teams were thrown a skills test – make poached eggs on toast and bring it to the pass in 10 minutes!
During the feedback the judges said, “The standard of cooking has been outstanding. We are impressed with the thought that has gone into producing these menus and the quality of the dishes plated. Choosing a winner has been very difficult. Everyone should be very proud.”
Team 7, made up of Level 2 students, Charlie King, Jonathan Corney, and Madison Bayford were announced as winners of the Cambridge Regional College A Passion to Inspire heats. The team will now progress to the national finals in April 2022 where they will compete against the winners of other colleges.
A Passion to Inspire’, founded by Murray Chapman, is a non-profit making, voluntary initiative, initially developed to bring education and industry closer together – to help and support ‘the future of tomorrow today’. The initial format was a competition, but with a fun and supportive element, to nurture, encourage and support students, and give them belief in, and a passion for, their chosen career.