Last month, Mark Wickens, Robin Dudley and Gary Kilminster braved the torrential rain and gale force winds to head across the solent to the Isle of Wight, to deliver an 'EC kitchen takeover' to level 1 students at the Isle of Wight College.
During an EC Kitchen Takeover, our team of passionate chefs work alongside students in their training environment to create mouth-watering dishes, with the aim to teach the budding young chefs invaluable skills.
Members of the team were very impressed with the standard of work created. Senior Business Development Manager, Mark Wickens commented, “It was a pleasure to join the students at Isle of Wight Catering College again this year which provided us the opportunity to meet the new cohort of chefs joining the industry and those in their second / third years of learning."
The brief provided asked the students to select a random group of ingredients (Essential Cuisine products included) and to work in teams to produce two identical dishes in just over an hour to be collectively judged by your peer and industry professionals.
With their ingredients provided and just ten minutes to prepare, one would think this would prove quite a challenge but we’re never disappointed with the calibre of food the students produce! These ranged from colourful curries, to tender risottos – all of which were amazingly presented.
Food aside, one of the main stand-out highlights for us all, were the levels of communication and teamwork, coupled with the enthusiasm needed to achieve the desired result - all of which are key to working well in any kitchen.
We caught up with Chef Lecturer, Jack Sallabanks from the Isle of Wight college to find out what he thought about the session.
How impactful was the Essential Cuisine Interactive Demo for your students?
It’s always a great day when the guys come over to join us from Essential Cuisine. The students really enjoy it and get to use and taste new products. It allows our students to get creative as well as experimental and sometimes a little competitive when they find out there are prizes at the end.
What does 202/23 look like for you and your students?
It’s looking very busy for us. Our restaurant here is fully booked until the end of January, also with plenty of trips planned for the new year as well as students entering different competitions. In terms of goals, obviously giving the students equal opportunity and the means needed to all gain their qualifications but also try our best to give them a real solid real life taste of what to expect from the industry in their future.
Do you have any advice for fellow food lecturers / teachers?
As I’m sure lots of catering lecturers have come from all different backgrounds and experiences, try to imbed those skills within their own lessons. I think also a massive thing I’ve had to work on personally is understanding every student is different and have their own backgrounds and experiences themselves, so you need to always be patient and try to understand where each individual learner is coming from.
Do you have any advice for future chefs and people wanting to enter the industry?
It may be a bit cliché but, if you do decide to join the industry, yes, you will have tough times, its inevitable but, on the flip side you will have the chance to gain so many new experiences and so many opportunities available to you “the world is your oyster”. Finish college, get a job in the best place you can find, keep your head down, listen to your peers, soak up and learn everything you can, stay in a job minimum for a year and then see where the wind takes you.
Lastly, what stood out for you the most during the Essential Cuisine Kitchen Takeover?
The great time the students had and the opportunity to use great new products.
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