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Cookery student beats 80 competitors and places in national canapé competition

City of Bristol College Professional Cookery Level 3 student, Chloe Smart, took part in the BASC and Highland Game Colleges’ Cookery Competition this year and dazzled the judges, securing second place on the national platform.

This incredible feat was due to Chloe’s sheer enthusiasm and passion for curating dishes that are a little different, straying from the ordinary.

Competition entrants were tasked with creating ‘the ultimate venison canapé’, tempted by the prize of a set of Flint & Flame knives as well as the opportunity to serve the winning canapés at the official Eat Game Awards 2023.

For competition entry, Chloe had to create a dish, photograph it and submit it. Following this, she was then shortlisted out of 85 entries hailing from all over the UK as one of just five students selected for the final.

Chloe commented: “I’ve always liked Masterchef and the idea of having a mystery box and having to figure out what to do with it. I thought this process was a bit like that in the sense that you had to create your own dish and then submit it online.

“I researched and I thought the most obvious recipe to do would be to have venison with Yorkshire pudding and maybe some sort of red currant because venison goes with berries quite well.. but I wanted to do something different and I did a venison taco with chilli sauce, whipped feta and pico de gallo.”

The final was held at the Kingsway College in London, where the five finalists took to the kitchen and whipped up a re-creation of their canapé dish.

The pressure was on and the stakes were high for Chloe representing City of Bristol College but she successfully faced the nerves and focused on producing her dish.

Talking of battling the nerves, Chloe said: “To be able to do your dish correctly, you just need to be able to stay calm and that is the main thing because if anything goes wrong then you just need to get on with it. Nothing went wrong for me luckily.”

The challenge of having to cook in a completely new environment within an unfamiliar kitchen whilst using different equipment was certainly an impactful real-world experience for Chloe.

Catering Lecturer, Ryan Fernandes, spoke of the experience, stating: “It’s been a journey for Chloe because she’s been thinking about what flavours, what combinations, what will marry well with the venison, working behind the scenes to get that right and to the standard that she wants – everything that she did was her own responsibility and her own work.”

Chloe secured the accolade of second place in the overall competition. Although she narrowly missed out on the top prize, the fact that there wasn’t actually intended to be a second place, but the judges created it solely to recognise Chloe’s hard work, was a true testament to her skill and precision.

As a Level 3 student, Chloe has reached the end of her time with us at City of Bristol College. She has finished all of her final exams and has been spending her last few weeks helping out with our gourmet guest chef dinners and various events; most recently taking part in Bristol Rotary Club’s Young Chef competition, which she won.

As for her next steps after college, Chloe said: “I’ve definitely figured out that I prefer baking bread and working on my fine pastry skills, so I’d probably like to do something more like that or even become self-employed.”

As a college, we wish Chloe luck for life after graduation; we’re sure that she will continue with the same passion for cookery and unique skill that she has demonstrated during her time with us – and she will go far.

To discover more about our Professional Cookery Level 3 course, please click here.

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