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Eastleigh College Catering students win national Innovation award

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@Eastleigh_Col Hospitality learners win Innovation Award in Young Restaurant Team of the Year competition

Hospitality learners Ed, Mia and Rishi have taken home the Innovation Award in the Young Restaurant Team of the Year competition.

The Young Restaurant Team of the Year was established in 2012 and seeks to uncover exciting new talents in the hospitality industry. The competition consists of a series of heats staged around the country, with winners progressing to a grand final that is judged by leading industry specialists. Among them this year were MSK Development Chef Vicky Enderson, three-Michelin-star French chef Pierre Koffman and food consultant Franck Pontais.

The final was highly competitive, with Ed, Mia and Rishi competing against learners from three other colleges, including The Sheffield College, Loughborough College and City of Glasgow College. 1000 points were on offer, with only around 50 points separating the four teams by the end of the judging process. After a day of deliberations, Loughborough College were crowned the Young Restaurant Team of the Year champions at a special awards dinner the following night, with Eastleigh College receiving the Innovation Award.

Each team was tasked with preparing and presenting a three-course dinner, consisting of a starter, main and dessert. The Eastleigh College itinerary was themed around French cuisine, with a salt baked celeriac and walnut croquette starter. This was followed by a main of pan roasted lamb with black garlic and herb crust, served with a potato, prune and bacon cake. For dessert, the team presented a Mousse au chocolat with a poached pair and tonka bean caramel sauce, with a freshly brewed coffee to finish.

Chair of Judges Vicky Enderson commented on Eastleigh’s performance: “The team displayed great innovation within their menu and service, their dessert in particular would grace any award-winning restaurant menu.”

This latest achievement caps off what has been a remarkably strong year for our three learner finalists, as well as our wider Hospitality department. Rishi only last month took home the prestigious accolade of ‘Adult Learner of the Year’ in our annual college-wide Learner Awards and reached the Major International Chefs Culinary Challenge in January. Ed was a finalist at the World Skills final in Glasgow at the beginning of this academic year and won a silver award in butchery at the London HRC International Salon Culinaire in March. Mia won gold in butchery at the same event and has been offered a permanent role at Lainston House, following a successful work experience stint at the residence. Rishi and Ed also currently work in the catering team at the popular ‘Inn the Park’ restaurant in Winchester.

Greg Cheeseman and Sue Lyons attended the event as mentors for the trio. They commented: “These three are fantastic representatives for our department and their passion and enthusiasm for the competition couldn’t be clearer. To compete so well against big city colleges is an impressive feat and they are worthy winners of the Innovation Award.”

As an extra bonus for the competitors, they had the opportunity to attend a Skills for Chefs conference where they could meet highly skilled industry professionals and watch them cooking in person.

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