Students Inspired by Catering Competition

24 July 2017 | Hospitality & Catering

A group of hospitality and catering students from City College donned their chef whites and headed to Aylesbury College for the final heat of the Inspire Hospitality and Catering Competition.

The final saw four teams – Papa Lima One from City College, The Golden Dragon and Samurai Squad from Aylesbury College, and Blades from Reading College – battle it out for the opportunity to spend the day with Ashley Palmer Watts, Chef Director from Heston Blumenthal’s Restaurant Dinner. The winning team will get the chance to visit one of the Fat Duck Group restaurants and have lunch at the Chef’s Table at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel.

The judges included Ashley Palmer Watts; William Baxter, Chair of Hospital Action; Mark Hastings, Restaurant Director of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel; Gareth Sefton, Managing Director of SHW Design and Pauline Odulinski OBE, Chair of Inspire.

The competition asked for each team to create a restaurant concept and menu, then present two portions of a dish that would best summarise their idea. After the food had been tried and tasted, the students were asked to talk through their inspiration behind the dishes, costing, financial viability, average spend per head and number of covers.

The Papa Lima One team, said: “Our concept was a restaurant called ‘Tea ‘n’ Toast’ where a menu of traditional breakfast foods is served in the evening.  We served a breakfast burger with a side of sauté potatoes which seemed to go down a treat. Even though we didn’t win, the experience has been great! We have learnt a lot of valuable skills from this competition and would like to congratulate the other team and thank our lecturers for choosing us to represent the College.”

Chaz Talbot, Academy Manager of Hospitality and Catering at City College, said: “We are really proud of our students for making it to the final of this competition. They were calm under the pressure and showed a real passion for not only cooking the food, but the ideas and business side of their restaurant concept. They were excellent ambassadors for the College and we hope to see them continue to compete for years to come.”

Ben Manning, Vice Principal of the College, said: “At the College we believe in giving our students a whole range of experiences. This competition has helped these young people to gain vital skills they will need in order to succeed in the hospitality industry. The creative brief allowed the students to explore the business side of the trade and dip their toes into the world of running a financially viable company. They did extremely well and we are very proud of what they produced.”

For anybody interested in a career in hospitality and catering, the College is holding an event in the City Centre on Friday 25 August, between 10.00am and 5.00pm at the Piazza. Please visit or call 01752 305300 for more information.

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