Cantell School students experience fine dining

Published: 28th February 2019

Published by City College Southampton

Earlier this month our hospitality students put on two fine dining events to cater for all Year 8 students from Cantell School. The event aimed to provide the Cantell students with a unique group experience of fine dining - something many had not experienced before.

The two-course meal was prepared, cooked and served by our level 1 and level 2 hospitality students, with ingredients kindly provided by the event sponsor, Cooper Foods.

The hub was transformed into a dining area to cater for the large number of 12- and 13-year-olds. Several students commented that they had not experienced many meals without their phones or with people of their own age. Etiquette cards were provided on each table which students read carefully and referred to throughout the meal. There were also conversation starter questions which led to lots of polite chat between students who were seated on large circular tables away from their usual friends.

Students were surprised that, when prompted to put their knife and fork straight across their plate, one of the waiting staff would immediately come over to clear away their plate, something they had never experienced before. One of the tables delighted members of staff when they all waited patiently together for the remaining student to get her food, which took a little longer than the others, to make sure they all started eating together.

Some of our trainee chefs came out to talk to the tables during the dinner which allowed the Cantell students to connect with the full hospitality experience and expand on their food technology lessons. The experience also highlighted and promoted the wealth of career opportunities in the hospitality and catering sector.

Luke Wilson, Head of Student Experience at Cantell School, said: “We really feel that the life skills our students developed during this social experience were invaluable. The hospitality students did a great job of cooking and serving the food in a professional manner. Our sincere thanks go to both City College and to Cooper Foods.”

Cantell School student, Finley, 13, talked about how the “food looked good and tasted great” and that the “service staff were really polite.” Roshun, 13, also loved the food and explained how he “really enjoyed the experience.”

It wasn’t just Cantell students that enjoyed the event; our hospitality students, some of whom were Cantell Alumni, also had a great experience, from setting up the event, laying the tables, preparing and cooking the food, to serving the meals to over two hundred young people. Jasmin Fraser, one of the service staff at the event, commented: “It’s an amazing experience to be able to get stuck in and actually do the job that professionals are providing in the real world.”  One of the trainee chefs for the event, Caitlin, said: “It’s very fast-paced and hands on but I’m really lucky to be gaining such valuable and real work experience at events like this.”