The culinary talents of Crawley College chef apprentices was on display during a special showcase evening.
Seven apprentice chefs designed and created a mouth-watering three-course menu for diners at the college’s 58 Restaurant.
Working in teams they prepared the meals, which were served to a fully-booked restaurant. And in an added twist, they were also presenting dishes to a panel of three expert judges – David Woods (Executive Head Chef at Sofitel), Amelia Bodle (from City & Guilds) and Peter Zeilke (Chairman of the Gatwick Hotel Association).
They judged each of the dishes, looking at various components including presentation and taste, before announcing their winners - Jake and Lewis, who had prepared the starters.
Crawley College Principal Vicki Illingworth was among the diners at the event, and she was full of praise for the evening.
She said: “The evening really showcased the progress our apprentices have made – not only in the kitchen, but also in the communication and team-working skills needed to deliver such an excellent menu.
“The food was mouth-watering and showed a good understanding of flavours and creativity in the design of the menu.”
The evening’s guests were equally as impressed by the standards on show at the college.
Steve Johnson, from the Holiday Inn at Gatwick North, said: “The showcase is such a good idea and the apprentice chefs worked really well together.
“I was classically trained, but these apprentices are lucky as their training at work and in the college gives them the chance to develop their skills using modern technology and fusion ingredients.”
Damien Minkive, from the Hilton Hotel, added: “I’m really excited about being involved in the showcase and working with the mentors.
“It’s not only fun but it broadens my experience. I’ve already learnt how to turn white chocolate into fudge, which I’m going to try out when I get back to work.”