Culinary creativity and sparkling service will be showcased by the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals to come out of West Nottinghamshire College.
Students Jack Kelly, Nathan Kirby, Georgia McGuiness, Richard Smith, Aimee Field, Chloe Boyles and Lewis Thorpe are putting the finishing touches to their graduation evening on Thursday (24 May), which will mark the end of their studies.
The glittering event will see almost 50 customers including family and friends treated to a fine-dining experience at college restaurant Refined, which its catering and hospitality students help to run as part of their courses.
Georgia, 17, Nathan, 18, Jack, 19, and Richard, 23, who have studied the NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery, have combined their foodie flair to create a vibrant menu celebrating seasonal produce and ingredients.
NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Hospitality, Supervision and Leadership students Aimee, Chloe and Lewis, all 19, will manage front-of-house operations after first decking out the restaurant with red and white flowers and gold-coloured table decorations to match its contemporary décor.
The three-course menu includes starters of aromatic confit duck pancakes with Peking ketchup and cucumber; scorched mackerel with asparagus, confit lemon, samphire and roast hazelnut dressing; and watercress and pea soup with shredded ham. Main courses include roast pork loin and braised beef cheeks, roast supreme of chicken, cod loin topped with a chorizo crumb, and Thai risotto. Rounding-off the gastronomic journey are desserts of rhubarb, almond and
ginger crumble; mango and passion fruit cheesecake; and dark chocolate parfait.
The dishes are inspired by ones the student chefs have created while working in Refined; an AA Rosette-winning restaurant at the college’s Derby Road campus.
Jack, from Mansfield Woodhouse, said: “We took our ideas from things we’d done before and modified them to use fresh, seasonal produce, with lot of bright colours. We showed our proposed menu to the front-of-house team, who were happy with it, so it’s been a collective effort.
“It’s going to be an exciting night, although there will be a lot of pressure on our shoulders because we’re cooking for all our family and friends. But we’re keen to impress and show-off everything we’ve learned at college.”
Thursday’s graduation is the first of four similar events by catering and hospitality students finishing their courses this year, which allows them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have gained.
In addition to working in Refined, many students have juggled their studies with part-time jobs in local restaurants and hotels. They are now looking forward to embarking on the next stage of their careers.
Aimee works as a bar assistant at Ego at The Old Ashfield, Sutton, and wants to become a supervisor or bar manager there, while Chloe, from Sutton, is keen to take on a supervisor role at the Mansfield branch of Frankie & Benny’s, where she is currently a waitress and bar assistant.
Lewis, from Mansfield – a waiter and bar assistant at the town’s 281 Restaurant and Rooms – eventually wants to manage a large restaurant or chain hotel in a major city.
Meanwhile, Jack – currently a part-time chef at The Hostess Restaurant, Sookholme – wants to further his credentials by working full-time in the locality before pursuing his ambition of working in fine-dining restaurants in London, where he was born.
Nathan, of Rainworth, is another chef with aspirations to move to the capital to ply his trade in Michelin-starred establishments, once he has gained further experience at The Burnt Stump bar and restaurant, Arnold, Nottingham, where he works as a line chef. His long-term goal is to run his own restaurant.
Having concentrated solely on his college studies, Richard, from Mansfield, is now keen to take his first step on the professional ladder by landing a chefs’ position in the area.
While Georgia, currently a chef at Tap Haus world beer and dining emporium in her home village of Mansfield Woodhouse, eventually plans to travel and experience working in various restaurants to help her decide on the cuisine she wants to specialise in.
The students insist their vocational training at the college had been the ideal springboard to rewarding careers in the industry, with some saying they secured their current roles on the back of it.
“It actually helped me get my current part-time job because the course is very hands-on, due to working in a proper restaurant,” said Lewis. “It’s almost like having two jobs.”
Aimee added: “It’s made me realise my preference is bar work and the skills I’ve gained have enabled me to develop myself and get a job, so I’ve really benefitted from it.”
Caption: Graduating students (from left) Chloe Boyles, Aimee Field, Lewis Thorpe, Richard Smith, Georgia McGuiness, Nathan Kirby, and (back) Jack Kelly, will be serving-up a culinary treat in Refined.
Vision West Nottinghamshire College
Derby Road, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG18 5BH
T: 01623 627191 ex 8630