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Passion to Inspire Competition


12th of June 2015

The kitchens and restaurant at  Edmunds - West Suffolk College were the venue for The Grand Final of “A Passion to Inspire” this week, with Colchester Institute winning outright in a tough competition between five student teams from the East of England.


The heats and final of “A Passion to Inspire” stand out from other hospitality and catering skills competitions because of their focus on every aspect of the process, from students’ knowledge of produce, to designing and costing their menus, and exceptional front of house presentation and service of food and drink.


The competition also seeks to bring added benefits to the participating students and colleges by creating new links between professional chefs, suppliers of local produce and further education – and giving the chance for all students to have a go and be inspired 


To reach the final on Tuesday 9th June, the teams of three students from Five colleges (Cambridge Regional College, City College Norwich, Colchester Institute and West Suffolk College and The College West Anglia) had to come through an earlier round of heats, with over 90 students being involved and inspired.


The student teams were each made up of two chefs and one front of house member. Prior to the final, each student team was paired with a top local chef as their mentor for the final.


The chef mentors were: Chris (Buzz) Busby (City College Norwich ); Matt Willby Executive Chef The Royal Hospital School, Ian Rhodes, General Manager and Executive Chef of Le Talbooth Restaurant (Colchester Institute); Stuart Ascott, Chef at The Leaping Hare (West Suffolk College); Alan Paton- Executive Chef Stoke By Nayland Hotel (Cambridge Regional College) and Sam Bryant, Head Chef Dabbling Duck (The College of West Anglia) 


For the final, each team had just 2 hours Preparation time followed by an hour of service in which to produce a three course meal for four covers. The students were challenged to come up with their own creative and personal dishes, with the same set of ingredients to work from.


The competition judges  -  Shara Ross (Director and General Manager of Hotel Felix), Paul Foster (Head Chef of Mallory Court), Nick Mills (Managing Director of Brasteds) Mark Poynton (Chef Patron of Restaurant Alimentum) , Eric Snaith ( Head Chef of Titchwell Manor ) and Nick Claxton Webb ( Head Chef of Congham Hall )  – scored the students on all aspects of the preparation and service of their dishes, from working methods and hygiene, to seasonality and flavour of the dishes, to the students’ timing and presentation at the table.   


Following a high quality demonstration of skills and knowledge from all of the finalists, Colchester Institute team of Charlie Dorney, Amy Plumb and Sophie Miller were announced as the worthy winners of “A Passion to Inspire” 2015. 


Colchester Institute’s winning Dishes were 

Pan fried Norfolk Quail - sweet corn puree (Carved at the table by Sophie), 

Pinot noir, France

 Ballotine of skate with a fennel and salmon Mousse, cucumber beurre blanc 

Chardonnay, Les Mougeottes,France and 


Dessert Iced strawberries, white chocolate parfait 

Moscatod'Asti Moncucco, Italy


The three winning students were presented with a commemorative Steelite International  plate and places to attend the prestigious Skills for Chefs annual conference, , a tasting menu at Michelin star Restaurant Alimentum, Farm Visits at Norfolk Quail and Dingley Dell Farm, gift vouchers from Anglian Free Range Eggs , a two night stay – stage and dinner at 3 AA Rosette Titchwell Manor and a Fantastic day at Infusions4chefs development Kitchen Ice with Master Chefs Jeremy Medley and Paul Boorman


All of the finalists received membership of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Steelite plates, and Personalised Jackets and Aprons from Richard at  Russums, and finalist certificates


“A Passion to Inspire” 2015 was supported by Great Partners– Alimentum Restaurant, Anglian Free Range Eggs, Anglia Produce,  BPEX, Callebaut Chocolate, CK Meats , Craft Guild of Chefs,  Dingley Dell Pork , Direct Meats, Freedom Food, Gourmet Classic, Infusions4Chefs ,Loch Duart Salmon, Marr Fish,  Master Chefs of Great Britain, Norfolk Quail , Russums, Steelite International , Skills for Chefs , Titchwell Manor

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