Students spring forward in catering competition win

One of the North East’s top hotels turned up the heat for some budding young chefs who took over the entire catering for its annual corporate event.

Talented catering students from Gateshead College split into teams to take over the kitchens at the Marriott Newcastle Gateshead Hotel, with each team preparing their own spring-themed delicacies to serve to guests.

Dubbed ‘Spring Forward with Gateshead’, the event was designed to showcase the creative talents of the Level 2 catering and hospitality students at Gateshead College. During the exercise, the students got the chance to work alongside Marriott head chef Chris Wells, who passed on culinary tips, techniques and advice on how to find employment in the fast-paced hospitality industry. 

The winning team, voted for by guests, will now get the opportunity to visit the prestigious JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Their winning dishes were suckling pig with spiced apple dipping sauce, Earl Grey roast shoulder of lamb and 'when the boat comes in' cullen skink bake.

Michael Fletcher,  one of the four members of the winning team, said: “This was a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in developing our own menus. I really learned a lot from Chris.

“Events like these add to the skills that we learn at college and give us a better chance of  securing  a job at the end of our course.

“I can’t wait to visit the Grosvenor House Hotel. It’s an amazing opportunity to gain valuable work experience in one of the best hotels in the country.”

The locally sourced delicacies were carefully chosen and prepared from scratch by the students and presented in a market stall-style event, with different stalls set up for each team. Some of the other culinary delights on offer included wild boar with field mushrooms in a filo pastry cracker, Cumbrian chicken noodle soup and honeycomb and lemon trifle with a champagne strawberry shot.

Newcastle Gateshead Marriott Hotel MetroCentre’s Executive head chef, Chris Wells, said: “The event was designed to provide a real-life business environment where the students could showcase their entrepreneurial, organisational and teamwork skills. It was a great success as the students put a lot of hard work into planning and preparing their chosen menus.

“They all demonstrated great skill and a good work ethic which will stand them in good stead when they enter the world of work.”