Hospitality and catering students at Northampton College joined forces with a team of top chefs to stage a charity dinner aimed at raising awareness of the importance of mental health.
The event, held at Booth Lane, saw dozens of diners enjoy a lavish five course feast while raising money for the mental health charity Mind, with each chef responsible for a different course.
Students helped with front of house and waiting duties while they also created a palette cleanser of burnt lemon slushie with gin, coriander, charred lemon and smoky rosemary.
Curriculum manager for catering, Phil Martin, said: “Our students thrive under pressure and this was a big night for them – a chance to show a number of highly-respected professional chefs just how well they can cope on the big stage.
“It was a brilliant experience for all of them and they will have learnt a lot. The food was absolutely first-class and having the opportunity to work alongside such an esteemed group of chefs will do wonders for their confidence.
“Mental health is a huge issue so we are delighted to have been able to host such a fabulous occasion and raise awareness of the important work Mind do to help people in their hour of need.”
The event, held on Wednesday, November 6, was hosted by Burnt Lemon Catering’s James Peck, star of the recent BBC series The Chef’s Brigade. He prepared the main course of beef shin with marrowbone and apricot arancini.
Other chefs involved in the banquet included Robert Wells of Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Ben Davis of Cuisine Culture, Alan Paton from the Craft Guild of Chefs, Daniel Britten of Britten for Food and Matt Green from Explore Chocolate.
Among the guests was Masterchef judge and Daily Telegraph food critic William Sitwell, who posted on Instagram to say: “Congrats to the students of Northampton College for a great dinner tonight masterminded by the brilliant James Peck.”
Learners on Northampton College’s Level One Progression Diploma course have been praised after recording a 100 per cent pass rate for the second successive year.
The course, which is run in partnership with Open Awards, helps to change lives through learning.
Adult students with a wide range of experiences of education and life come together for a full time, one-year course, aimed at providing them with everything they need to progress on to study at higher levels or find more advanced employment.
This year, alongside their studies, the students also completed fundraising activities and volunteered with a local charity, gaining key workplace skills as well as giving something back to the community.
All the students on the course successfully completed all the assignments and achieved their diploma. Many of them passed Functional Skills exams at Level 1 or Level 2 at the same time. All of the students are progressing on to further studies this year, at either level 2 or level 3; 92% are doing GCSE in at least one subject.
Throughout the year, students listed things that the course had helped them with that they used in everyday life. Time management and creating a CV both came high up on the list. Another said that the main thing he would take away was the knowledge he had gained about himself, knowing that he could keep going with any task that was given to him.
One student said the course was “challenging yet rewarding,” delighted that it had given her the understanding to help her own children with their maths homework, as well as helping her to progress herself. She will be taking both English and Maths GCSEs this year. Another described the course as the “best experience ever, it’s given me the courage to pursue my dreams further.”
Catering students had the chance to impress Royal Navy recruitment teams during an impromptu ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ challenge in the Northampton College kitchens.
With a 6,000 strong catering team serving its fleet of vessels across the world, the Royal Navy is a major employer in the hospitality sector and officers visited Booth Lane to speak to students about the possibility of a career at sea.
Level Three Hospitality & Catering students were given 75 minutes to come up with a two-course meal from a selection of random ingredients – working as a team to decide on flavour combinations and the overall look, texture and taste of their dishes.
They were able to choose from ingredients including chicken, pork belly, cauliflower, potatoes, eggs, cream cheese, chocolate, fresh berries, brioche and digestive biscuits.
Head of Catering, Phil Martin, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Royal Navy to College to talk to students about life on the high seas. They really brought it to life and sparked the imagination in our students. It was good to see them working together to come up with some fantastic dishes, showcasing their creativity and technical skills under pressure.”
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