A pioneering outreach programme to encourage more young people in the North East to train for a career in the catering and hospitality industry has already started to bare dividends.
It was cooked up by Joanne Rogan, a Lead Practitioner at Gateshead College and Chris Wells, the inspirational Head Chef of the Marriott Gateshead Metro Centre.
A series of annual cake making heats in local schools was organised by the two of them to address the shortage of young people coming into the industry either directly or via a college catering courses.
Both Joanne and Chris visited local senior schools to inspire the students and the winners took part in a grand final bake off at Gateshead College.
That was three years ago and already several participants have been inspired to enter the industry.
Competing in the latest grand final college bake off to make and decorate a perfect Genoese Sponge using their own inspirational ideas and skills were students from Jarrow and Boldon schools and Thorp Academy. The proud winner was Eleanor Curry from Jarrow School.
Joanne told how she and Chris Wells and Stuart Hawkins, a catering lecturer at the college had earlier visited the competing schools to demonstrate the sponge cake making prior to the school heats and were already looking forward to next year's competition.
Said Chris "It's heart warming to know that we are helping to inspire the young chefs of the future."
Marriott Gateshead Metro Centre Multi Property General Manager Eamonn Thompson said helping to support the bake off was all part of the world wide group's community outreach programme.