Meals on wheels has a whole new meaning for catering and hospitality students at West Nottinghamshire College thanks to an innovative project involving learning from home.
Catering staff at the college’s Derby Road campus have been working hard to ensure that despite the lockdown, students whose courses would usually involve putting their skills into action in the kitchens and restaurant areas, can still take part in the practical side to learning their catering skills.
Staff from the college’s Refined restaurant have been putting together individual parcels for the Level 1 Diploma in Hospitality and Catering group, to ensure they have all the right ingredients ready for the week’s cookery lesson, which has been delivered by an online video link.
This has seen chef tutor Mark Jones record his practical lesson on video, instructing students how to create their dishes which have included mushroom risotto, apple crumble and custard, vegetable chilli and Cajun wedges, vegetable chow mein, chocolate brownie, lemon drizzle cake and orange and pear trifle.
Staff have then delivered the ingredients to each student’s home, in a safe and socially distanced way, ready for the class to log in and follow the instructions to make their own gastronomic creations from their own kitchens.
Take a look at the film here which shows how well this project has worked for students https://youtu.be/4C7sv-fswOY
 
It has meant that students on the Level 2 Food and Beverage Service and Level 3 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership courses have also been able to prepare and make their own range of mocktails from home in the same way thanks to this innovative delivery system in place. They were shaking-up some fruity creations recently which will eventually be served to diners once the college’s restaurant is open for business again.
The college’s Refined restaurant, which has been listed as number one of 121 restaurants in Mansfield according to TripAdvisor, is home to over 70 catering and hospitality students ranging from Level 1 to Level 3 at the college.
As the restaurant has been closed during lockdown, so too has most of the college’s practical learning areas which has meant that students who would regularly have their vocational lessons within the industry-standard kitchens, haven’t been able to learn in this way.
However, staff realised that this needn’t mean that they should stop creating and learning so devised the plan to deliver ingredients to students’ homes where they could still cook the dishes required from their course modules, by following the tutor’s instructions via video link.
Ice Goodwin-Cox, 17, from Blidworth, was one of the students who has been undertaking the Level 1 Diploma Hospitality and Catering practical elements from home. He said: “I’ve still enjoyed being able to cook from home, it’s meant that I’ve not fallen behind with my practical skills. However, I am looking forward to coming back to college soon to continue to develop my cooking and to see my classmates again.”
Chef tutor Mark Jones said: “The aim of this project was to ensure learners were kept active alongside re-capping and embedding their practical skills. They’ve continued to progress and upskill with a range of practical tasks to challenge their varied abilities.
“Our students have responded really well to the live sessions and it’s given them something to look forward to each week whilst creating new dishes for their families and showcasing their skills.
“It’s also helped with their independent skills and since they have returned to college they’ve shown a more clear progression. As a catering team it has also shown the learners how effective team work can be even in the toughest of situations.”

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