The past year has been a turbulent time for the hospitality industry and, like may other restaurants and cafés, City of Bristol College’s City Restaurant was unable to open meaning the weekly gourmet and theme nights have also been put on hold.
The gourmet evenings, which are traditionally held on a bi-weekly basis, would normally see students learning from an industry professional and serving up a delicious set menu to a fully booked restaurant. But, not wanting students to miss out on the opportunity to learn for a wide range of industry professions, the College’s Catering tutors set up a month-long series of digital masterclasses with some of the College’s top chef partners. Catering students were able to hear from industry professionals such as:
- Mark Payne – General Manager of The Bristol Hotel
- Sumit Arora – Executive Chef at DeVere Tortworth
- James Gordon – Head Chef at Sumas Restaurant, Jersey
- Craig Sherrington – Executive Head Chef at Lumley Castle Hotel
- Brinda Bungaroo – Home Chef and food blogger
Catering lecturer, Ryan Fernandes, masterminded the masterclasses as a way to ‘engage with students and rejuvenate their love for cooking and food’.
He said: “With lockdown, learning went online and technology became the new norm of delivering classes. With catering classes, we had to improvise to give our students the best which was out there to keep them thriving, hence I organised online live cooking masterclasses from top chefs around the country. The student’s enthusiasm and learning took to another level where it was the best experience they had.
“Our subject is very hands-on so when we were forced out of the kitchen and online, it was difficult to adapt but they have been incredibly patient so it was brilliant to be able to put on something which resembles our day-to-day work.”
Students learned a range of different skills, including intricate chocolate work such as creating truffles and tempering to filleting a fish perfectly.
Head Chef James Gordon, who is a keen supporter of the College and is a regular at the gourmet evenings, joined the students from Jersey. Chef James focused on chocolate work and some fish and foraging recipes.
He said: “I have worked and been friends with Ryan for 15 years now and the during the past few winters I have really enjoyed taking part in the gourmet dinners with the students. Due to Covid, an online masterclass seemed the best way to still give these young chefs exposure and experiences.
“Through my sessions, I hoped they became inspired to try new things at College and at home. Some of the things I shared were not extremely difficult but required a little time and patience to try. I hope I gave them that confidence so they will explore further in the comfort of their own homes.”
The Food and Beverage students were also lucky to hear from industry great Fred Sirieix, who rose to prominence on the Channel 4’s First Dates and ITV’s Gino, Gordon and Fred: Road Trip.
The talk, which gave students the opportunity to learn the tips of the trade from the Michelin-Star maître d’hôtel, was organised by Pace UK and featured a number of other Colleges.
Executive Head Chef at Lumley Castle Hotel, Craig Sherrington, kicked off the string of masterclasses with a mackerel demonstration. Deemed, ‘one to watch’ by the Great British Chefs, Craig was keen to share his knowledge with the students and offer a ‘little inspiration’ to urge them to carry on with their studies
He added: “I offered to help with the masterclasses to help lecturers keep their students engaged. I enjoy giving back and passing on knowledge. As I was furloughed myself, I had some spare time on my hands and knowing what a strain home schooling was, as I have two children at home myself, I understood what a task it would be to deliver online lessons for a practical skill and qualification.”
To find out more about our Catering and Hospitality courses, visit our website.