It has always been a passion of ours to be involved with colleges, helping students with their first steps into the industry. It is not always easy spending two days at one college for any chef, Restaurateur or Hotelier. It is for this reason that the “Passion to Inspire” project was developed. Together, John Jackaman Infusions4chefs and Murray Chapman First Contact Chefs have designed a forum for the employer to meet, talk and work with their future employees. In addition offering the opportunity for the lecturers to network with high profile local employers …..and of course the actual competition!!!
The focus on this year’s event was based around Chef and Front of House Teams. The competition was open to all levels and years within the colleges from NVQ, VRQ and BTEC. It was based upon teams of two working together to produce a two course lunch to include a main course and a dessert, accompanied with a choice of wine for each course.
Four colleges were invited: Colchester Institute, Cambridge Regional College, Suffolk New College (Ipswich), and West Suffolk College (Bury St Edmunds).
There will be a preliminary round at each college open to as many teams as the individual property feels they can accommodate. There may be preliminary 1 in the morning, a networking lunch and preliminary 2 in the afternoon. The judge’s marks will be collated and the judge’s spokesperson will announce 2 teams that will be invited to represent their College in the final to be held at Ipswich College.
Local chefs, restaurateurs and Hoteliers were invited to judge at each college. Unlike most competitions, the Judges were encouraged to get involved with the students during the competition and actively help with the dishes , chopping , advice, new techniques ( and most importantly build their confidence ) with no penalties being incurred.
Whilst competitions are a good idea , only a small % of students take part , with “ A Passion to Inspire “ it is about all students , this year we helped 25 students get new positions ( part-time and full-time ) out side their post codes .
The support “ A Passion to Inspire “ had from employers was brilliant , there was Shara Ross GM Hotel Felix, Martin Edwards GM Swan at Southwold, Madalene and Ross The British Larder ,Steve Smith Burlington Restaurant , Alan Whatley APC , Rory Whelan Swan at Southwold ,Tom Stuart Hotel Felix, Nick Claxton-Wood Ickworth House , Paul Foster Tuddenham Mill, Alan Ford Hintlesham Hall, Mark Poynton Restaurant Alimentum let alone The Master Chefs Chris Coubrough, Eric Snaith, Jeremy Medley , Paul Boorman , Ian Rhodes, Stas Anastasiades , and Stuart Oliver
The students were encouraged to engage themselves with the judges , ask them about their career paths , employment opportunities , views on the food they are producing any advice and help during the competition. ( no burnt or burning pans !!! )
The support “ A Passion to Inspire “ received from National Partners , Gourmet Classics, Infusions4chefs, Steelite , Barry Callebaut, Russums was excellent , planning forward we hope to build on this and offer the students and colleges a wider range of products to stimulate their own passion and we hope to introduce local Partners ( e.g. East Anglia ) to help develop local producers cheese , pig farming etc, where they will look at supplying the local colleges with their ingredients , and where possible invite the students onsite visits !!!
The final this year was held in New Suffolk College , Ipswich . The College majorly supported the event with food produced all day for those who attended , we had local employers popping in during the day and besides the other colleges, lecturers national and local Partners, The Master Chefs of Great Britain and Association of Pastry Chefs we invited the students parents ….. who attended with fantastic support !!
Gold was awarded to Simon Jam & Charlie Parker from Suffolk New College who produced two outstanding dishes, Salmon Ravioli, Seared Scallops & Lobster Foam and a tantalising Chocolate Soup for dessert
Thomas Osbourne & Ryan Holland, Cambridge Regional College,
Jemma Gooding & Daniel Flory, Suffolk New College
Christopher Murcott & Blakenee Green, West Suffolk College
Hannah Lenton & Jack Aldhouse Cambridge Regional College
Chris Turton & Sam Good, Colchester Institute
Ryan Edgeworth & Jake Brown, West Suffolk College
Gemma Burge & Kathryn Bash, Colchester Institute
After the event it was decide to invite the students back to create a dinner with them for the parents, lecturers and local employers …….
The enthusiasm for the dinner was beyond belief …….
National and local suppliers provided 80% of the produce...including the wine
The College took on board all relevant costs ……the dinner was free to all that were invited!
All the students (except a couple that were on holiday) that reached the final attended plus a few others that wanted to be there,
Lecturers giving up their own time to attend and support...
And fantastic Head Chefs in their own right wanting to attend as commis chefs
This year “A Passion to Inspire “has brought a lot of people together the main tasks have been achieved
Industry / educational and more importantly employer / employee
I do hope that we can all put a little into this concept and achieve a lot for the future of tomorrow !
If you wish to be involved in “ A passion to Inspire “ please contact either John Jackaman firstname.lastname@example.org /01359 272577
or Murray Chapman email@example.com / 0114 2458696