Passion to Inspire Competition
Ultimately, it was the team from West Suffolk College- Chefs Crystal Newton and Alex Cornwell and FOH Will Shinn - Lecturer Stuart Ascott - Mentor James Carn ( The Angel Hotel , Bury St.Edmunds ) that were declared victorious for 2018 and scooped the Grand Prize, four places at the upcoming Skills for Chefs Conference in Sheffield featuring Raymond Blanc, John Williams and Chantelle Nicholson
All the students- lecturers and mentors from College West Anglia , Colchester Institute , Cambridge Regional College and West Suffolk College were all tasked with using Loch Duart Salmon Belly / Marrfish- Creedy Carver Duck/ Direct Meats , Tart Tatin with Apples from Anglia Produce , Nurtured in Norfolk and Wines from Hallgarten & Druitt Wines
Two-time winners of the " A Passion to Inspire " competition, Cambridge Regional College welcomed students , lecturers , partners and well-known catering personalities from across the region for a day of Great quality food and service from the next generation of catering and hospitality professionals with some top class Hospitality .
Tempura of Lock Duart Salmon belly Lime, grapefruit, soy, peanut & avocado
Creedy Carver duck breast, duck fat pomme Anna , kibbeh , wild garlic, peas, broad beans, white asparagus & dukkah
Apple Tarte Tatin, vanilla & calvados ice cream
Earlier this year the colleges involved each held in-house heats, with the winning team progressing to the final. Each team consisted of three members – two in the kitchen and one front-of house. A few weeks ago, the last four remaining teams were invited to an Upskill day at Infusions4Chefs with renowned celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE, a regular on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen, who also cooked for HM The Queen on her Diamond Jubilee Tour. The students spent three hours learning a variety of skills with spices and the importance of good quality ingredients, to inspire them ahead of the finals held at Cambridge Regional College.
Along with interpreting the menu, the students were also tasked with contacting suppliers directly – a first in the 8-year history of the competition – in order to negotiate price, understand where produce comes from and which produce was best for the different dishes required.
There was no shortage of regional star-power on display when it came to the judging panel. UK leading Chef Mark Poynton, award winning restaurant Brasteds Nick Mills, Infusions4Chefs and Ice Cook School’s Jeremy Medley, The Weeping Willow’s Nick Claxton-Webb and Director/General Manager of Hotel Felix, Shara Ross, were all on hand to provide valuable feedback to the contestants and ultimately decide upon a winner.
On being involved with" A Passion to Inspire ", Mark Poynton said, “This is about getting students into work placements and giving them as many opportunities as possible to succeed. It’s also vital to show students the importance of front-of-house in the competition, as good service can help towards bad food, but nothing makes up for bad service”.
The event also attracted the attention of BBC Radio Cambridge, who sent reporter Ben Stevenson to take part in an on-air omelette making challenges part of the Breakfast show.
VIP guests in attendance for the CRC finals included award-winning Pastry Chef Consultant, Sarah Hartnett and Andrew Bennett MBE, The National Chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs; he said, “Competitions are a great adversary to new talent in building up students’ confidence going into the industry. Hopefully the learning's from this competition will take them forward and give them confidence for the future”.
The teams were judged on their costings, cooking skills, food presentation, table designs, front-of house skills and the guests’ overall experience. The competition encourages students to learn new skills and post-competition each team was given constructive feedback directly from the judges.
Graham Taylor, QTLS Lecture at Cambridge Regional College, was delighted with the success of the event, he said, “Everybody at Cambridge Regional College is thrilled to have hosted an event that will inspire students from colleges across the region, helping the next generation build links with suppliers and fellow professionals in the local area. We would like to say congratulations not only to the winners, but to everybody who took part in what was a fantastic day”.
Hosting the" A Passion to Inspire " finals represents the latest in a line of successes Cambridge Regional the East of England.