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Take two Northampton College catering students, mix together and add a pinch of romance…it’s a recipe for love!

Luke Dillow and Kirsty Jeffs, who studied Professional Cookery together in 2017/18, returned to Booth Lane for the first time for a ‘date night’ meal at the college’s in-house restaurant – only for Luke to stun his partner by popping the question in a pre-planned stunt he had arranged with his former lecturer.

The proposal brought back special memories as it was the same restaurant where the pair had enjoyed their first lunch together as a couple four years previously.

Luke, aged 20, said: “We were both on the same college course and became good friends before finally getting together in March 2018. The Lane restaurant means a lot to both of us so it seemed the perfect place to pop the question.

“I contacted Vince Burgess, one of my old teachers who runs it and he was amazing in helping to make it extra special. The little attention to detail, including a special dessert with ‘Congratulations’ piped onto it really showed they went the extra mile. Kirsty was absolutely speechless.”

The couple enjoyed a delicious starter of tomato tarte tatin, followed by coq au vin and a meringue roulade as they toasted the occasion.

Luke is now an estate agent in Milton Keynes while Kirsty, aged 21, works for a recruitment agency. He said: “We might not be working in the industry but we loved the professional cookery course and got a lot out of it. The teachers were fantastic and we made lots of very good friends, many of whom we are still in touch with.

“We both still love our cooking. Kirsty does most of the cooking at home and I help out at a big Scout Camp every year, cooking for about 100 people.

“It was brilliant to go back and the standard was superb, especially considering the students have had to study online for periods throughout the pandemic which is so difficult in that kind of industry. They did an amazing job.”

The couple, who live in Irchester, are now starting to plan their big day and hope to tie the knot next year.

Vince Burgess, a teacher in food and beverage service at Northampton College, added: “It was lovely to welcome Luke and Kirsty back to The Lane for such a momentous occasion. It’s always nice to see former students again and to be able to help Luke create a memory they will both cherish forever makes it even more special.”