Hospitality & Catering

The Academy hosts the North West’s Young Chef of the Year Finals

The Academy restaurant at Cheshire College – South & West’s Crewe Campus played host to the North West’s Young Chef of the year competition with six finalists battling it out to claim the title.

The impressive judging panel included Essential Cuisine Business Development Chef, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes; ex-Le Gavroche head chef, Steven Doherty; Paul Askew of Liverpool’s The Art School and Graham Price, formerly of pub group Brunning & Price.

Highly acclaimed Chef and Master Chef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor also lead the panel as chairman of the judges. Brian, who is an ambassador for the College works regularly with the learners to progress their development, techniques, skills and concepts.

Cyril Gabriel, 23, cooked his way to glory on the day, seeing off tough competition including chefs from Northcote and the Punchbowl at Crosthwaite. His winning three-course menu consisted of: Wye Valley asparagus served with free range poached egg and Hollandaise sauce starter; a main course of Welsh Mountain Lamb saddle served with pickled baby carrots, pea textures, carrot jam, creamy mashed potato and for dessert lamb jus and a Lime biscuit Dacquoise served with cherry cremeux, stuffed caramelised cherry, praline Chantilly cream, lemon balm and cherry beer ice cream dessert.

Brian commented: “Yet again the technique on show across the board has been excellent, this was one of the hardest competition’s we have ever had to judge, but in the end, Cyril’s consistent quality shone through. There was also real passion, pride and endeavour on show – something we’ve come to expect from the competition, but should never take for granted. We will be flying the flag for Cyril, come the national semi-finals.”

A well-attended inaugural dinner and awards ceremony at Cheshire College – South & West was also held to mark the competition. Brian added: “Special mention must go to Cheshire College – South & West for hosting the event. It was great to see so many people come out to support the young finalists. Thank you also to each and every one of the catering and front-of-house students who helped on the day – a truly inspirational group of young people and the next generation of this fantastic industry.”

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. It also won the 2017 AA College Restaurant of the Year.

Shane Guildford, Chef and Lecturer at Cheshire College – South & West’s Academy restaurant added: “It’s been a great day and fantastic to see the restaurant hosting such a highly esteemed competition. We have been honoured to host the event and see so many admired and successful industry professionals in the kitchen with us today.

“It was also a great opportunity for four of our learners, who were involved in the event, acting as runners and assistants for the day. It gave them an insight into the pressures of a professional kitchen and they were all inspired by the food that was on display.

“There’s a lot going on at 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.

If you are interested in Hospitality and Catering courses available at Cheshire College – South & West, or would like more information on the courses available, visit or call the College hotline on 01270 654654.

Students make the WorldSkills UK Final

South Cheshire College’s Matt Evans, 18, from Crewe and West Cheshire College’s Penny-Jane Prior, 17, from Wrexham, are amongst the finest apprentices and students in the UK after securing a place in the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions.

Competing in the ‘Culinary Arts’ competition as part of the Hospitality and Lifestyle sector, Matt Evans impressed the judges to become a finalist, Matt said: “It has been great to be part of this competition; its great experience and a good platform to gain exposure within the industry and get your name out there.

“Taking part has definitely helped with my technique and confidence, as it really is a pressurised environment. I’m now gearing up for the finals.”

WorldSkills competitions are designed by experts to be highly competitive, assessing numerous abilities, including: practical skills, knowledge and employability against a set of strict criteria. The competition is designed to encourage, inspire ambition, push for excellence and equip entrants with world-class skills.

Having fought through the National Qualifiers, completing months of intensive training, Penny-Jane and Matt are in the top 500 skilled young apprentices and students to have made it through to the final showdown in front of 70,000 spectators at The Skills Show in November.

Penny-Jane, National Qualifier in the ‘3D Digital Game Art’ competition within the Media and Creative sector, completed a vigorous round of challenges to make it through to The Skills Show. The competition is about demonstrating the skills of the 3D Digital Game Artist within the games development cycle.

Penny-Jane commented: “It has been an intense competition but also great fun and I’m so pleased to have made it through to the final 500. It feels a great achievement.

“To become a national qualifier we were given a brief and tasked with completing this to the client’s requirements through our best interpretation. We had to therefore work from the concept art to produce a 3D mesh, using our skills in geometry, triangle count and making good decisions in symmetry and silhouette, to then subsequently create the visual elements.

“The theme is always unknown so I am slightly apprehensive going into the finals, but I have been preparing and practicing a range of modeling techniques so hopefully that will set me in good stead.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and hopefully I can be as successful this time round!”

Mark Parsons Director of Faculty – Retail, Commercial, Engineering and the Built Environment, commented: “We’re really proud of Penny-Jane and Matt and their achievement within this competition. They are both very determined individuals and have put a lot of hard work into preparing for this event.

“Their dedication is really paying off and I’m sure they’ll both go on to make us proud at The Skills Show later this year.”