Last night City of Bristol College warmly welcomed special guests to our City Restaurant at our College Green campus for a night of culinary creations, hand-crafted by no other than our wonderful students.
Our key employers and partners were in attendance, our valued connections who work closely with our apprenticeship team. The evening proved to be an opportunity for them to network, to see our brilliant catering facilities first-hand and to catch a glimpse of our students in action.
The night allowed students to showcase their skills and gain real-world experience alongside our guest chef for the night, Matt Lord – Regional Executive Chef South West for the Compass Group.
Matt is no stranger to getting involved with our popular gourmet nights and investing in our students, having done so for just over a decade.
We caught up with Matt to hear the reasons behind his passion for getting involved with COBC.
Matt commented: “Supporting the guest chef dinners at COBC is a key date in my calendar and something I look forward to every year. Engaging with our future chef talent and discussing their career plans helps them to understand the different career options available to them and gives me insight into what they are looking for from us as employers.
“It’s seeing the product that the students come out with at the end. Whilst it’s my recipes and my food, I try and keep as hands off as possible. I show them what to do, I then step away and they create the dish, serve the dish, and it’s great seeing good quality food go out and happy customers in the restaurant.
“I feel really proud of them, the best bit of the evening is standing out there when all of the guests are giving the students a round of applause and seeing the happy customers – that’s the main thing.”
Every fortnight (exam schedule permitting of course), Ryan Fernandes – Catering lecturer and Des Smith – Hospitality & Service lecturer, host our gourmet nights in our on-site restaurant.
Local guest chefs hand-picked from hotels and restaurants in the region are also welcomed aboard for the night to cook up a storm in the kitchen with our students, providing deep enrichment and a real-world working life scenario for them.
These nights often attract loyal returning customers and offer a great platform for our students to interact with the public.
Ryan was also in attendance overseeing the night and getting stuck in to the food preparation. Talking of the night, Ryan said: “It’s all been designed in such a way that the students have been pushed to their limits to learn the best.
“It’s always great because it’s nice to see that everyone has really learnt a lot, is happy with what they’ve done and the customer is also happy – we have great feedback.”
So, what was on the menu of the night you ask?
Some stars of the show were Cornish crab cocktail, salt-baked celeriac and a lovely local pudding, in the form of a sticky date and Southville hop pudding accompanied by blackberries, sorbet and fermented apple.
If you’d like to experience a gourmet dinner for yourself, you can view our upcoming 2023 dates here.