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The Corporation

Posted: 27/05/16

Students and top chef serve-up veggie feast

Trainee catering and hospitality professionals at West Nottinghamshire College teamed up with experienced chef Dave Robbins to serve-up a vegetarian medley.

Renowned chef Dave Robbins (front, fourth from left) pictured with students ahead of the ‘Keep it Green’ evening in the college’s fine-dining restaurant, Refined.

The chef patron of Mansfield restaurant 4 Wood Street worked with more than 20 students to stage a ‘Keep it Green’ evening in the college’s own fine-dining venue, Refined, on Wednesday 25 May.

It followed an earlier visit as part of the lifestyle curriculum’s ‘industry week’, when he spoke about cooking for vegetarians and vegans before giving cookery demonstrations in the college’s training kitchens. Mr Robbins then challenged students to design a tasting menu consisting entirely of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables and, after selecting the final dishes, returned to oversee the themed event.

Working alongside chef tutor Neil Wilson, Mr Robbins helped a group of Level 2 Professional Cookery students prepare a mouth-watering meal including a brie with pickled radish and cucumber salad, spiced Quorn with chilli and lemongrass dhal main course, and rhubarb and stem ginger steamed pudding dessert for more than 50 paying customers at the popular Derby Road campus eatery.

Five-star service was provided by students on the Level 1 and 2 Food and Beverage courses, and Level 3 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership programme, under the direction of front-of-house trainer Lee Coupe.

Mr Robbins said: “With dietary requirements being a big issue these days, and with there being many more vegetarians, I was keen to show students how you can create wonderful dishes from inexpensive produce and without using meat.

“It’s all about improving their skillset and giving them an opportunity to do something a little bit different. The students did really well; the dishes went out on time and looked really good.”

Mr Robbins, who previously worked with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay at his eponymous restaurant at the world-famous Claridge’s Hotel, and at his Boxwood Café and Foxtrot Oscar establishments, added: “The college is very pro-active at engaging with industry professionals, which is really good for the students. Its restaurant and kitchens are of a really high-standard, which ensures they’ve got everything they need to learn their trade.”

A raffle on the night raised £55, taking the catering and hospitality teams closer to their target of raising £1,000 for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Sheffield, with the total currently standing at £830.