Aspiring chefs and front of house staff from St Helens College struck gold in the first ever Battle of the North West Inter-College Cook and Serve Competition. Catering and hospitality students from colleges across the region were competing to impress diners including Paul Askew, chef at The London Carriage Works Restaurant.
, and John Hollywood, of Liverpool’s Panoramic restaurant.
A select group of St Helens College catering students put together a delicious set menu to showcase their range of culinary skills and to utilise a selection of specially selected North West produce.
Student chefs Dean Evans, Callum Hurle, Stephanie Benham, Lucy Allcock and Amii Edgar produced a fantastic five course menu which included an amuse bouche of duck egg custard with bacon and toast soldiers, a grilled hake starter, sirloin of beef main, strawberry tart dessert and a selection of delicious petit fours.
Meanwhile, hospitality students Stephanie Birchall, Sophie King, Miranda James and Katie Donnelly were judged on everything from the way the tables were dressed and laid to the way they interacted with guests, served the food and drink and answered questions.
Stephanie, the hospitality team leader, said: “It was such a great experience and to win first place makes it worth all the time and effort. Preparing for the competition has changed my perspective and I feel like it has given me that extra drive to aim even higher.
“We really came together as a team and we were very proud to represent St Helens.”
Other competitors included the L20 Hotel School at Hugh Baird College, The City of Liverpool College and Wirral Metropolitan College.
But it was St Helens College who strolled out of St George’s Hall with the gold award.
Principal Jette Burford said: “The students and their tutors have worked tremendously hard to pull everything together to showcase their skills. It has been a fantastic opportunity for them to work with high profile, industry specialists from across the region.
“The food was delicious and the service impeccable. It is a great triumph for St Helens – we really do have lots of talented youngsters and this competition has been a platform which will now propel them into employment at prestigious restaurants.”