Success at inter-college culinary and hospitality competition

Published: 8th April 2019

Published by City College Southampton

Last week (Friday 5th April) saw a selection of our hospitality and catering students compete against students from Eastleigh College, Fareham College and Highbury College in a MasterChef style competition, held at City College Southampton for the second year running.

Hosted at our Aspire Restaurant and in our industry-standard training kitchens, the competition saw more than thirty-five hospitality and catering students compete across different rounds designed to test their food preparation, cooking skills and front of house skills.

Level 1 students were tasked with demonstrating their fine dicing skills with cuts of vegetables under a strict 25 minute time limit.  Level 2 students were given 25 minutes to prepare 1.5kg of fresh chicken ready to sauté.  Finally Level 3 students had just 60 minutes in which to create a chicken main course using a mystery box of ingredients.

In addition to the culinary challenges, front of house skills were also put to the test with students having 45 minutes to lay-up a table with the theme of ‘A Night At The Movies’ being tested on menu theming, wine pairing, cutlery, napkin and table presentation as well as personal appearance.  Front of house skills were also tested by being tasked with designing, naming and creating a layered cocktail.

The high standard of City College students was evident as they were awarded two 1st places and two runner-up places out of the five categories.

Level 1 student, Hannah Wilkins, was awarded 1st place for her outstanding knife skills in the vegetable cuts (fine dicing) category. She said: "Today was my best plate I’ve done so far and in a record time of 24 minutes. I’m a bit overwhelmed as I wasn’t expecting to win. I’m so pleased."

Level 2 student, Harry Healey, was over the moon at being crowned 1st place with his winning cocktail creation 'Apple Pie Shot'.

Sarah Stannard, Principal of City College, said: "I’m delighted that the Inter-College Hospitality Competition has returned to City College this year and it is fantastic that more colleges are taking part each year.  It’s been a great event and a real showcase of the talent we have across the South in both culinary and hospitality skills.  The students should be very proud of what they’ve achieved today, particularly working against the clock like this.  We look forward to welcoming them all back in 2020."

Sponsors for the awards included Harvest Fine Foods, Essential Cuisine, Hampshire Fare, Hampshire Salami Company, Mayflower Theatre’s Ovation restaurant, The Stable, Potters Heron and Ginger Catering.

One of the guest judges Andy Mackenzie, Executive Chef at Exclusive Hotels, said: "It’s wonderful to see the brilliant work that all the colleges do in preparing and developing students for this industry. Today’s about looking at passionate chefs and front of house teams, and to judge their technical skills and competence. It was certainly evident to see that lots of practice had gone on in preparation for this competition. Well done everyone."