West Notts students ready for Welbeck Estate cookery challenge

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Cookery students are taking their catering skills to Nottinghamshire’s historic Welbeck Estate next week for a cookery challenge at The School of Artisan Food.

Students on West Nottinghamshire College’s professional cookery courses have been invited to take part in a Master Chef-style challenge by food producers at the UK’s only school of artisan food.

It is hoped the challenge, on Thursday 9 June, will eventually be run on a larger scale for other colleges to compete in.

Learners will be placed in three teams of four competitors and receive a budget to purchase ingredients at the Welbeck Farm Shop, adjacent to the school. Teams will then be challenged to produce a three-course meal-for-two in the school’s state-of-the-art training rooms and kitchens.

The judges – Councillor David Challinor, chairman of Bassetlaw District Council; Sheila Russell, acting head at The School of Artisan Food; and Neil Wilson, chef tutor at West Nottinghamshire College – will score teams for their individuality, presentation, taste and teamwork efforts.

Jennifer Jordan, the college’s curriculum manager for hospitality, said: “This is a unique opportunity for our students to take their newly-acquired cookery skills to this prestigious food production school and learn new techniques at the same time.

“This exciting Master Chef-style challenge will allow them to work with produce they may never have cooked with before and receive constructive criticism from some of the country’s top artisan producers.”

The prize for the winning team is a one-day course at the school covering techniques in areas such as cheese-making, patisserie, butchery, confectionary and baking.

Sheila Russell said: “The competition is a great opportunity for students to showcase their talents. It’s these ambitious cookery students who are the next generation of artisan food producers, and we are committed to encouraging and providing training for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the food industry.”

The School of Artisan Food is the UK’s only education-provider offering diploma qualifications in baking, butchery and cheese-making. The school, which opened in 2009, also hosts a wide programme of one-day courses.