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The Corporation

Posted: 23/06/10

Students cook up a treat for VQ Day

Professional cookery students battled against the clock and the searing heat today as they took part in a Ready, Steady, Cook-style skills challenge with chefs from two of Mansfield’s top restaurants acting as judges.

In celebration of the nation’s third VQ Day today (Wednesday 23 June), students from the college’s No 19 Brasserie put their vocational skills to the test in a 60-minute cookery contest, cooking up a two-course meal using ingredients such as pork, sea bream, turbot and tortellini.

They welcomed Troy Lamb, head chef and joint owner of Lambs at the Market restaurant on Nottingham Road, and Michael Sindall, owner of Number 4 Wood Street.  Both are ex-catering students at the college.

Troy and Michael assessed the two teams of three students throughout the challenge on hygiene, preparation, presentation plus taste and originality of the final dishes.

At the end of the contest, Troy and Michael sampled each dish and took their time to judge the students’ skills, which, according to Michael, (36), are very impressive.  He said, “The students seem to be more advanced with their skills compared to when I was here. There are definitely a few budding professionals working well here today. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen.”

Troy, (28), agreed with Michael that the standards of the two teams were very high. He added: “They all worked well as teams and were very well organised with their preparations.”

Both judges sampled each team’s meals and marked them on a number of categories. Team A prepared a sea bream starter with tortellini of mushroom and watercress sauce followed by pork fillet wrapped in Parma ham, pomme anna, pea puree, pickled carrots and tarragon and mustard sauce.

Judges deemed that Team B were the overall winners with their starter of pork belly with textures of apple, followed by a main course of turbot with pomme puree, asparagus and buerre blanc.  Congratulations went to Lewis Bradley, Kayleigh Atkin and Scott Place who made up the winning team and will be presented with a special award at the end-of-term barbeque for the catering and hospitality students next week.

Applause was given to runners up – Team A – Emma Davis, Josh Adams and Amy Metcalfe.

The two groups then heard from Troy and Michael about their experience as students and then as professional chefs, and picked up tips from the duo for their future careers.  Michael, who spent ten years working in London in restaurants, including working for Michel Roux junior, had some sound advice for the students.  “It’s been a great opportunity to come along to see the students working today for this VQ Day challenge.  We’ve been able to advise the students where they can go in their future careers.

If they really want to do it – really work hard for success – then they can achieve it.  Both Troy and I are still relatively young and own our own restaurants and are proof that hard work and dedication really does pay off.

“It’s been great to come back to college, to give something back and I’ve enjoyed seeing what professional cookery students are achieving on their courses today.”