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Heat is on as young chefs compete

PUBLISHED: 18:57 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 July 2010

TOP food experts will judge the skills of trainee chefs and hospitality students at Great Yarmouth College on Thursday in the regional finals of a national competition.

TOP food experts will judge the skills of trainee chefs and hospitality students at Great Yarmouth College on Thursday in the regional finals of a national competition.

Four judges will join evening diners in the college's training restaurant, Ambitions, for a three-course meal to decide if the college's menu, service and students are good enough to go on to the national finals.

It is the second year running that the college has made it to the regional finals of the highly competitive College Restaurant of the Year contest run by the Restaurant magazine - and it only entered for the first time last year.

Then the judges from the magazine and the Craft Guild of Chefs praised the students highly.

Next week, judges will choose from a menu of five starters including turkey green curry and jasmine rice, fresh tagliatelle enveloped in gorgonzola, sage and white wine sauce, and pea and lettuce soup, and four main courses including pan-fried medallions of fillet steak served on a bed of crushed new potatoes and chives with an oyster mushroom and cognac jus, confit of roast Norfolk duckling bigarade and baked stuffed fillets of trout with a saffron and vermouth sauce.

Desserts include tropical strudel with raspberry coulis and classical apple Charlotte with apricot sauce.

Kevin Bayes, team leader for hospitality and catering, said “It is in the evening that the restaurant comes into its own.

“It is the best showcase for the students' skills, their silver service skills, and will give us the opportunity to really show what we can do and do all the time.”

This year, third-year students will be in the kitchen with second years working front of house. The judges will eat from the usual menu and mark on taste, flavour, refinement, technique, service and presentation.

In the contest, students from the finest catering colleges in the country pit their skills against each other to win the coveted title.

“Last year we lost out in the regional finals to the eventual runners up,” Mr Bayes said.

Ambitions was recently named as runner-up best restaurant in the area by the BWell health clubs losing out on the title to Fritton House Hotel with the accolades: “It's a must. You will not be disappointed, the food and service is great. Run by the students, the price is seriously reduced…”

Ofsted inspectors last month praised the hospitality and catering team's strengths of high success rates, “good teaching and learning in practical skills”, “a wide range of provision which meets learners' and employers' needs” and “well-managed and successful provision for learners aged 14 to 16”.

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