Devon Chefs Cook up a Storm with Students

City College Plymouth hospitality and catering students joined four of the most prominent chefs in Devon to cook and serve a five-course menu to a restaurant full of hungry diners.

The College’s training restaurant, PL1, opened its doors to the public to sample cuisine crafted by members of the Devon Chefs Club. Working in partnership with the College, the Club aims to inspire the next generation of chefs and bring industry skills into the classroom.

Chefs Mike Palmer (Two Bridges Hotel), Ben Palmer (The Greedy Goose), Dave Jenkins (Rock Salt) and Tom Ewings (Hotel Endsleigh), each prepared a course. They were helped by level 3 students who spent the afternoon being taught professional techniques, while picking the brains of their mentors and preparing for the evening ahead.

The diners were treated to a mouth-watering menu of goat’s cheese honeycomb mousse with pickled and roasted beetroot; Sladesdown chicken cooked three ways with hazelnut and artichoke; spiced hake with pickled oriental vegetables; duck with Asian spices and Salcombe crab; and lemon tart with macaron, vanilla vacherin, passion fruit and mango.

“The Devon Chefs Club has a growing partnership with City College, one which we intend to develop,” said Head Chef at the Two Bridges Hotel, Mike Palmer. “These students are a credit to the College and worked tirelessly preparing the ingredients for our dishes. It was pleasing to see how the students’ skills had grown since our last visit; it provides us with confidence over the future of our industry.”

Head Chef at the Greedy Goose, Ben Palmer, said: “I was delighted to assist and observe the students in action. They did a great job in helping me prepare and serve my food. I look forward to helping play a part in their futures whether it’s as a guest lecturer or as an employer.”

Head Chef at Rock Salt, Dave Jenkins, said: “The Devon Chefs event gives students a glimpse into the industry. They get the chance to experience a taste of what this business can offer them, techniques and the standard of food expected. It is also an opportunity for them to gain valuable contacts and secure future work experience or jobs.”

Pastry Chef at Hotel Endsleigh and former City College student, Tom Ewings, said: “The kitchens and equipment the students are using is really impressive and of industry standard. The College taught me how to be more detail-focussed and gave me the grounding that has helped me to get to where I am today. I wanted to give something back to the place where it all started and inspire the next generation of chefs.”

“It is so interesting to work with local chefs and see the different ways they work,” said level 3 hospitality and catering student, Natalie Whitley. “To get this taste of industry in such a hands-on way is so helpful and it also gives us all a chance to seek work experience or employment. There will always be a need for chefs so getting trained in this way gets us ready to walk straight from the training kitchens to the real thing.”

Ethan Bennett, another level 3 hospitality and catering student, said: “Seeing professional chefs do what they do and working alongside them is a great experience. It gives you an idea of the industry and where we will all be heading in the not so distant future. It’s also great fun.”

Chef Lecturer, Richard Farleigh, said: “The Devon Chefs Club dinner gives our students the opportunity to learn new skills and provides context to what they are learning in the College kitchens. It is also a chance for them to network and gain contacts in the industry that will lead to work.”

For anyone interested in a career in hospitality and catering, or for details on all courses and study options, the College is holding a Course Information Drop-in, on Wednesday 8 March 4.30pm - 6.30pm, at Kings Road. For further information please visit cityplym.ac.uk/events or call 01752 305300.