AA College Restaurant of the Year

Award-winning Academy restaurant celebrates success at Pennyhill Park

The Academy restaurant at Cheshire College – South & West’s Crewe Campus was invited to cook a celebratory lunch at luxury 5-star Pennyhill Park Hotel, Surrey.

As winners of the 2017 AA College Restaurant of the Year, the Academy was invited to support the preparation and service of the lunch to 50 specially invited guests from both industry and colleges.

Mark Parsons, Director of Faculty – REB at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “It’s phenomenal to be recognised to this extent, with all credit due to the students and staff involved. They have put in a tremendous amount of hard work to achieve the exceptional standards The Academy is known for today. To be involved in this high profile event has just been the icing on the cake to the benefits we’ve enjoyed by being an AA accredited college. It’s given us great exposure within the industry and significantly raised our profile.”

Professional Cookery students Richard Postles, 18, from Winsford and Matt Evans, 18, from Crewe, accompanied Chef and Lecturer Shane Guildford, along with the two other 2017 college finalists to cook up a show-stopping lunch.

Richard commented: “Pennyhill Park is known for its exquisite food so it was a privilege to get the opportunity to help with the preparations and utilise the facilities. I think everyone enjoyed the meal – we certainly received some really good feedback. It’s been a fantastic experience and was great to have some time to enjoy the venue too.”

Launched in 2016 in partnership between People 1st, the leading skills and workforce development charity for employers, and AA Hotel Services, the AA College Restaurant of the Year award recognises the hard work of chef lecturers and students that run college restaurants.

The winners and finalists of the award are then given an unprecedented opportunity to be part of this esteemed event and showcase what their restaurant can really do.

Shane Guildford, Chef and Lecturer at Cheshire College – South & West’s Academy restaurant added: “Winning the AA College Restaurant of the Year award was an immensely exciting time for us and there’s plenty more to come from the restaurant this year with new initiatives and partnerships underway. We’re continually growing and attracting more talented chefs due to our winning status as the best college restaurant in the country.

“It’s already been an exciting start to the year and we’re looking forward to what can further be achieved throughout 2018.”

The Academy restaurant is a training restaurant based on the ground floor of the College’s Crewe campus, featuring a modern and innovative twist on Manchester’s famous Northern Quarter in its facilities and décor.

Academy Deli and Restaurant wins AA College Restaurant of the Year

AA College Rosette deli and restaurant, the Academy, has won the prestigious AA College Restaurant of the Year Award 2017-18.

The training restaurant within South Cheshire College received the accolade during the AA Hospitality Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night (25 September 2017).

The award, developed in conjunction with sponsor People 1st, recognises accredited colleges within the AA College Rosette Scheme that have shown outstanding achievements in a realistic working environment.

The Academy had been shortlisted for the prestigious AA College Restaurant of the Year Award following a day of judging held at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London earlier in the summer.

Mark Parsons, Director of Faculty – Retail, Commercial, Engineering and the Built Environment at South Cheshire College, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic achievement for all the team and students who work at the Academy.

“We hope that our reputation in the Cheshire community continues to grow and attract talented chefs who can now train at the best college restaurant in the country.”

The AA College Rosette Scheme was designed to recognise the efforts of students, both front and back of house who are the future of the hospitality industry. The college accreditation process, provided by People 1st recognises colleges offering exceptional hospitality training and those that perform above and beyond in a specialist field as centres of excellence.

Martine Pullen, Director of Consulting at People 1st said: “Huge congratulations to the team at South Cheshire College, and indeed to all of our finalists. Judging this year’s award was an extremely rewarding experience – it was fantastic to see so many passionate young chefs and front-of-house staff, but the team from South Cheshire College stood out as exceptional.

“With the industry experiencing a chronic shortage of chefs in particular, employers are increasingly looking to work with colleges to recruit talent – we hope this award will help to raise awareness of the vital role college restaurants play, and encourage businesses to work with our accredited colleges.”

Garry Baldwin, Senior Hotel and Restaurant Inspector with the AA said: “We were hugely impressed with the quality of entries for this year’s award – it really highlighted how college restaurants are keeping up with industry trends, and South Cheshire College in particular demonstrated excellent commercial awareness in the way its hospitality department and restaurant are run. Congratulations to all involved!”

As well as its award-winning restaurant, the Academy works with a growing number of successful industry partners including Brunning and Price, Luke Thomas and The Little Food Company.  The links to industry provide excellent training opportunities for students and supports the commercial element of the Academy’s business which plays an important part to the team’s overall success.