CREATIVE catering students cooked up a storm to impress judges in the Major Series national culinary competition held at their College.
Hartlepool College of Further Education hosted the Northern heats of the Major Chefs Series event, which sees students set a challenge of live and static displays as well as a hot culinary task and a restaurant skills class.
The College was hand-picked by the Guild of Chefs for its excellent standards in catering and now two Hartlepool students will represent the region at the national finals of Hotelympia 2017 in Birmingham against students from the other heats across the UK.
Kevin Dove, catering lecturer at Hartlepool College of FE, said: “To be recognised by the Guild of Chefs in a competition like this is a major honour for us as a College, and is something we are extremely proud of.
“We were approached in February with regards to hosting the competition here at HCFE having competed at other venues on the last five consecutive years. We were thrilled to be given the opportunity and so it was all hands on deck after that and the students have all put a lot of hard work into getting everything ready.
“Since then this competition has been incorporated into the course and I’m extremely proud of the performance they have put on.
“For those potential students considering joining us, this is something they will also be a part of as we will again be the host venue in 2017 along with attending and competing in various competitions and prestigious events.
“There’s a lot of pressure when you have to perform for judges, especially the calibre of judge from the Guild of Chefs who are all looking for different things, but everyone who took part did really well and the experience they have picked up will stand them in good stead moving forward.
“Many of the students only joined us in September, so to be at the level they are now is a fantastic achievement.”
Wayne Harris, from the Guild of Chefs, was part of the judging panel.
He said: “Hartlepool College made us very welcome, there are some fantastic facilities here and it was a pleasure to bring the event to Hartlepool.
“The overall standard was very good, and there some extremely talented students at the College. We gave feedback afterwards to try to point them all in the right direction.
“The important message is not to rest on your laurels. If you did well in this competition, it doesn’t mean you have cracked it. There is a long way to go to carve out a career, but this is an excellent platform.
“The feedback was constructive to help the students, and we look forward to seeing them and hearing about them in the future.”
Former English Martyrs student and Hotelympia 2016 Finalist Amy Pattison, 17, was crowned as Best in Class overall and won gold in the live national competition class followed by further awards in the street food and bakery classes and will go on to represent Hartlepool College at the National Finals alongside fellow student Eljohn Latyan, another ex-Martyrs pupil, who also won gold.
Amy, a Level 2 catering student, said: “I took part in a competition in London at Hotelympia which I was very nervous about, but I seemed to be a bit more comfortable with being able to use the fantastic facilities at the College which I’m more familiar with.
“This was a tough event, we started on Monday preparing everything but have spent months researching and planning for the day. Then on the Tuesday it was a case of preparing, cooking and presenting everything.
“We had a briefing as a class, and then set about the tasks within the time limits given to us.
“I was so surprised when they announced that I had won, and I’m very proud. It’s all good experience and it will go on my CV.
“I hope to get a career in the industry, hopefully abroad at some stage, so this will stand me in good stead.”
Billie May Dear, a level 2 adult student, and Phoebe Gallen, 17, also won gold in the category of Street food.
Phoebe also won Silver in the live national class along with a further overall best in class for bakery skills which included the first ever gold medal given by the Guild of Chefs for this category.
She said: “I could not believe I won gold in the street food category and a silver medal in class one. To then be awarded gold and best overall in bakery in the first time in history of the competition just made me feel fantastic”
Jack Fraser, 17, who joined from St Hilds School, also won gold in the live dessert class, winning with his complex chocolate soufflé dessert.
“The planning, preparation and support from other students, family and lecturers was the reason today was such a successful event and I am thrilled that my hard work paid off”