The next batch of budding bakers from Sunderland College are being given the chance to prove themselves by the owners of a new deli.
Student chefs from the college’s brand new City Campus are now taking commercial bread orders from Urban Terrace Kitchen Delicatessen.
Husband and wife team Michael and Zoe Jameson opened the deli in October, with the view of creating a community-based business using local growers and producers to provide them with fresh and wholesome goods.
Michael, 43, has worked in the catering industry for 25 years, enjoying stints as executive head chef at Sunderland Marriott and Longhirst Hall, having previously worked as chef director at the Oldfields group of restaurants.
Now, the experienced chef has returned to his roots and has opened up the deli on St Luke’s Terrace in Pallion, a stone’s throw away from the couple’s home.
The traditional-style deli sells a range of home-made sandwiches, salad boxes and fresh produce, with Michael heading up the kitchen and Zoe, 45, working front of house.
And its latest offering is freshly-baked loaves of bread made by catering students who are completing professional cookery qualifications at Sunderland College.
The student chefs have created their own recipes for ciabatta, brioche, walnut and raisin and rye breads, and supply the deli on a twice-weekly basis.
Rob Stewart, the college’s curriculum leader for hospitality, tourism and engagement, said: “Michael provided work experience placements for our students when he was head chef at the Marriott, so we’ve had a long-standing relationship and he understands what we are trying to do at the college.
“He shares our commitment to providing the next generation of chefs with opportunities which encourage and nurture their talents while ensuring they understand the expectations of the industry in order to prepare them for a career in catering.
“The arrangement with Urban Terrace Kitchen Delicatessen has been very beneficial for our students. Every week they have orders to fulfil which are going out to the public, so they are learning about the pressures of the industry and it is developing their work readiness skills as well as their professionalism and accountability.”
Michael and Zoe, who left her job in the education sector to concentrate on the joint venture, are passionate about ‘giving something back’ to the local community.
The couple, who have two children, use fruit and veg from a local supplier, seafood from Sunderland Fish Quay and import honey, olives and olive oil from Greece, a company which is owned by a Whitburn woman and her Greek husband.
Michael said: “We want to feel like part of the community, so where possible, we buy locally sourced produce and some of the goods we sell are not-for-profit. That is why we are very keen to involve Sunderland College in our business and support the education of trainee chefs. I have had many opportunities in my career and I’ve been supported by fantastic mentors, and now I feel it is important to help bring youngsters into the industry.
“The deli opened at around the same time as the college’s new City Campus, which is a great new addition to Sunderland and the facilities are wonderful. We’ve had an absolutely marvellous reception to the bread supplied by the college – people really appreciate fresh products and local food. I’m looking forward to working with the college in other ways in the future.”
Sunderland College teaches a wide range of catering qualifications from its £29million City Campus, which houses state-of-the-art equipment and learning spaces, including a bakery, two teaching kitchens, a production kitchen and the newly-opened commercial restaurant, City Bistro.