The RAF has sponsored a catering competition within one of the UKs best catering colleges whilst raising more than £1000 for Help for Heroes.
It was a night filled with excitement and anticipation as six teams from Cornwall College Camborne, St Austell and Saltash took to the training kitchens to prepare, cook and serve their individually designed menus in just 75 minutes, to paying customers seated in the contemporary surroundings of Trevenson restaurant.
Sandie Johns, Employability Development Coordinator, Cornwall College said, “As we hold Platinum status with the RAF outreach team due to the amount of work we do together, we’re always looking for new ideas to engage students, we came up with the idea of a sponsored catering event and in a short space of time it’s gone from an idea into what we have tonight”.
Decked out to reflect the red, white and blue of the RAF roundel, each table was looked after by one of the teams, which were all named after famous RAF aircraft. Official judges were on hand to mark each dish and all monies raised awarded to Help for Heroes.
Grant Mather, Curriculum Lead, Professional Cookery, Cornwall College, said that 18 students from three campuses took part, “creating some exquisite menus including pan seared duck breast, poached Lemon sole and wild mushroom & spinach ravioli”.
Judging the event was a professional RAF chef and member of the outreach team from the local Armed Forces Career Office.
Corporal Mark, RAF Chef, Worthy Down Barracks explained that all six teams “produced some exceptional dishes and everyone should be extremely proud of themselves”.
“We’ve sampled some amazing flavours, being overwhelmed by the high standards and suitably impressed by the creativity that the students have brought to the table,” Mark added.
Cornwall College has a long history of working with the armed forces, offering the only Military Academy in Cornwall to young people interested in a career with the Navy, Army or RAF and a course which is well respected by all three services.
Also attending the evening were senior officers from RAF St Mawgan, including the newly appointed Station Commander and Executive Officer for 505 (Wessex) Squadron, who see events like this as an opportunity to promote the service and advertise relevant vacancies as part of their recruitment strategy.
Wing Commander Alex Mason, Station Commander, Royal Air Force St Mawgan said, “It’s really important for the RAF to be involved in events like this one, we are always looking for very similar skill sets to the ones the students here possess and of course around Cornwall there is a lot of interest surrounding the catering and hospitality industries and all the armed services need people to fulfil roles in these trades, for both regular service and reserves”.
Mason continued, “Tonight has been a very successful night for both the college and the RAF, everyone has had a very enjoyable evening, eating some superb dishes and we have had the opportunity to speak directly with part of our target audience about the good work that the RAF does. From what I have seen this is a truly professional setting and I can see why the college restaurant is AA Rosette awarded”.
After much sampling and deliberation the judges did eventually come up with a winning team, who were from Saltash campus. Chosen due to their organisational skills, cleanliness of the preparation area, knowledge of ingredients, flavours, portion sizes and planning skills, the judges were unanimous in their decision.
Johns added, “It’s a pleasure to announce the winners of the 2017 catering and hospitality competition as team Typhoon from Saltash. The winning students all receive a trophy, vouchers and goodie bag sponsored by the Royal Air Force”.
The night ended with a raffle and in total the competition raised a staggering £1,130.36p for Help for Heroes, which was greatly received by an attending representative.
“The competition and tonight’s event has been another very successful function; from the well-designed table setting, to the carefully constructed menus, attentive front-of-house service and happy customers,” Grant added.
“Everyone involved should be extremely proud of themselves for arranging, participating and delivering such a wonderful evening and events like this really do help cement our status as the best catering college in the South West.”
For more information on the range of Catering and Hospitality courses available across The Cornwall College Group visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0845 22 32 567.