Celebrity chefs

Learners work with Michelin Star chef at County Show

Professional cookery learners from Cheshire College – South & West have been supporting celebrity chefs at this year’s Royal Cheshire County Show.

The six learners, all studying Professional Cookery Level 1 and Level 2 at the College’s Ellesmere Port Campus, have been helping celebrity chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and Sean Wilson prepare for their live cooking demonstrations at the show.

Learner Ben Pocock, 17, from Chester, said: “It’s been an amazing experience. We’ve helped prepare food before each demonstration as well as had the chance to work on stage with Jean-Christophe.

“I’ve learnt so many new techniques and tricks it has been incredible to work on a live show.”

The learners got the opportunity thanks to the College’s partnership with professional chef Brian Mellor, who is an ambassador for the College.

Brian, who runs Harthill Cookery School, said: “My role as ambassador for the College is to support and provide opportunities that expose learners to real working experiences.

“Working on such a high-profile event with a multi-Michelin Star award winning chef is an incredible opportunity.”

Attracting over 80,000 visitors each year, the Royal Cheshire County Show at Tabley, near Knutsford, is one of the most highly anticipated agricultural shows in the country.

Richard Harrison, Lecturer in Hospitality at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “All the learners have shown a huge amount of passion and commitment over the past two days and they should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.”

For more information about studying hospitality and catering courses at Cheshire College – South & West visit ccswdev.wpengine.com or call 01244 654555.

Students cook up a storm alongside Celebrity Chefs

Cheshire College South & West’s award-winning restaurant, The Academy, recently welcomed two celebrity chefs through its doors for special masterclasses in street food and pastry at the College’s Crewe campus.

Celebrity chefs Luke Thomas and Damien Wager, both extremely influential and successful within their industry, spent time with the students demonstrating new techniques, skills and concepts to help further their careers in the world of high-quality cuisine.

Shane Guildford, Chef/Lecturer at Cheshire College South & West said: “Our Academy restaurant has had an incredible year, having won the AA College Restaurant of the Year 2017. Now to have the expertise of both Luke and Damien available to us is really exciting and valuable. The students are very receptive and have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the Gourmet Evenings and skills kitchen.

“Luke has worked with our students for some time and most recently visited the College for a street style day serving Bao buns in The Academy’s festival style gazebo, whilst Damien has been involved with our Gourmet Evenings and will be working with us more in the future.”

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

Chef, Damien Wager commented: “It’s been a real privilege to work with the students at the College and to see them grow.

“I’m always keen to encourage students by getting hands on as it’s truly the best way to learn. I certainly appreciated having mentors around me throughout my career.

“Having built an ambassador deal with Forest Produce, a specialist ingredient supplier, this allows me to continue to grow and enhance my own abilities through their support. Hence I’m passionate about teaching and enjoy helping others to reach their full potential.

“The students are really enthusiastic and it’s always exciting to see young talent coming through. We plan to brand up a skills kitchen in the New Year so I’ll be a regular visitor to the College and will be working with the students to elevate their pastry skills whatever their current level.”

Damien was named the youngest Head Chef within the South West at a 4-star or higher rated hotel. This was followed by numerous magazine and publication features and was a role Damien says made him realise his future lied within the pastry side of the kitchen. He has also featured as Pastry Chef of the month for the Staff Canteen, and numerous publications for his exploits.

Damien’s latest workshop at the College was on Gourmet Evening, preparing a 5-course taster menu for some 40 guests. He worked with the students in the morning to meticulously prepare the desert course for the occasion, which was a huge success.

Shane also said: “We are immensely grateful to Damien and Luke for their support, knowledge and experience.

“Thanks to both these chefs, our students are gaining fantastic exposure and the practical experience needed to enhance their careers.”