Top chef stirs up students’ enthusiasm

Friday 24 October 2014


Budding chefs from South Thames College were treated to a masterclass from legendary French chef Albert Roux OBE. Roux joined the students in the kitchens of the college’s Hospitality and Catering Academy as they tested their techniques ahead of the menu pitches that will see them compete to serve their dishes at the prestigious Investec Derby Festival 2015.

The student chefs have been given an exclusive opportunity to design, cook and serve a three-course menufor Investec and its clientsat the two-day event held at the Epsom Downs Racecoursein June 2015. To help refine their dishes before they present their ideas to Investec representatives and Epsom Downs Racecourse chefs, the world-renowned chef spent the afternoon at the college’s Merton Campus making sure the students’ food had the wow factor and giving them advice on how to improve.

Working in teams, students presented dishes from their menus which included beetroot and squash ravioli with a goat’s cheese foam, fillet of steak with peppercorn ice cream and a popcorn-infused pannacotta.The creators of the winning menu will be given the unique opportunity to cook their menu with the Jockey Club Catering team at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Dishes will then be served by their classmates at Investec’s hospitality suite, hosting more than 1,000 people.

Albert Roux OBE said: “I was certainly impressed with the students’ work and the imagination that went into the courses. Quite honestly, that food could have been served in many restaurants throughout the UK and France.”

Level 2 Professional Cookery student, Morgan Thomas, said: “When I started this course I never thought for a second someone like Albert Roux would try my food throughout my career, let alone while I was still learning at college. I’m really excited to be involved because I’ve been to the Investec Derby Festival before and the experience is unique. To have so many people see my ideas on a plate would mean a lot to me.”

Steve Cannell, Head of the Hospitality and Catering Academy at South Thames College, said: “It was a real honour to host Albert Roux at the Academy and for him to share his expertise with our students. It’s a daythey’ll never forget and his feedback hasundoubtedlyboosted their confidence for the competition pitch and inspired them to pursue their ambitions beyond.”

The groups presented their ideas to the judging panellast week, Friday 24 October, with successful students taking part in a cook off in the following stage. The winners will be announced in early December 2014.