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Food fight!

Student chefs from Sunderland College crossed utensils in a Hell’s Kitchen-style charity culinary challenge.

Washington’s Holiday Inn was taken over by six catering students who showed off their cooking prowess and created their own three-course menu for diners on Sunday.

The budding chefs were split into two groups and, with the help of the hotel’s head chef Mariusz Urbanczyk, battled it out to see who would be crowned takeover champions.

Customers could choose from a broad range of delectable dishes and the most popular item selected by diners decided the winning menu.

Although the competition was very close, the team named overall winner was made up of Eleanor Wilson, Morgan Brickle and Connor Mills.

Thanks to the efforts of the six students, more than £160 was raised for the Holiday Inn’s chosen charities, Grace House and Greenfingers.

Rob Stewart, Sunderland College’s curriculum leader for hospitality, tourism and engagement, said: “We were really pleased to help support local charities and give the learners an opportunity to see inside a different type of kitchen to any they’d seen or worked in before. They all put in a lot of effort to prepare for the event and so hearing such positive feedback from the diners made it all worthwhile.”

Last September, all catering students were moved to the college’s multi-million pound City Campus which houses state-of-the-art equipment and learning spaces, including a bakery, two learning kitchens, a training kitchen and the newly-opened commercial restaurant, City Bistro.

Rob added: “With the amazing facilities our ambitious students are used to cooking in day in day out, they are gaining the knowledge and skills they need to become top chefs. We encourage them to do as many work placements as they can in restaurants while they are studying with us, and along with the experience they gain in City Bistro, which is fast becoming one of the most popular restaurants in the city, they are getting a great head start in the industry.”

The Holiday Inn Washington’s general manager Paul Mandeir said: “I am delighted with the way the day went for the students. It is clear from the delivery of service that the students will excel in the hospitality trade. All of the guests who attended enjoyed the food and left delighted with the event.”

The takeover was arranged with the help of Reed NCFE, which joined forces with Sunderland College in 2014 to create a job zone offering high quality work experience opportunities and careers guidance.

Katrina Blyth, employment broker for Reed NCFE, said: “Our focus has been to work in partnership with Sunderland College to create valuable, meaningful work placement opportunities for the students.

“As part of this placement, the students have had the chance to create their own menus, cost their menu, prepare and ultimately take over the professional kitchen at the Holiday Inn, cooking for a restaurant of people. This has proved to be a real eye-opener for the students in terms of the hard work that goes in to running a real-life, working kitchen and they have all done a wonderful job.

“This valuable experience for the students’ CVs, the chance to network with professionals in their chosen industry, and the personal gains and development of mindset qualities needed in the work place, has equipped the students with the necessary tools which will ultimately support them to secure apprenticeships or jobs in the future once they have finished their course.”

For more information on the college’s catering courses, click here, call 0191 5116000 or email info@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk

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