Worksop: Students prove to be gourmet stars

Hospitality and catering students at North Notts College had their culinary skills put to the test when they were visited by Tony Pilsworth, owner of the Blue Bell restaurant in Carlton-in-Lindrick, his son Lewis and head chef Richard Raynor.

Tony was interested in employing a couple of apprentices at his restaurant and was interested in seeing the chefs in action and seeing for himself their creativity before making his selection.

Twelve students took part in a competition to prepare a main dish from assorted food brought in by Tony.

The students had a choice of pheasant, rabbit, venison, freshwater bass and Torbay sole and the task was for each student to prepare a main dish using the meats and fresh vegetables supplied.

Tony wanted them to produce a professional dish that he could serve up in his restaurant.

And as an incentive, he offered dinner for two at the Blue Bell for the winner.

The meats, fish and fresh vegetables were brought in at 11am and the students had 90 minutes to decide what to cook, prepare and present the dish.

The winner was to be decided jointly by Tony, Lewis and Richard, but the standard was so high that they couldn’t agree on an outright winner.

In the end, the students of the two top dishes were put into a draw and a winner pulled out, which was Terri Portus.

Emma Alder, a student on the course commented; “It was a great experience and it was also nice to receive feedback from someone outside the college.”

“I feel we would benefit more from this sort of activity, for employers to see our environment rather than in their workplace.”

“I look forward to taking part in this again should the opportunity arise.”

“I think the students found it an enjoyable experienced although I had never seen our students so focussed and intense on the task in hand before,” added Gavin Chambers, one of the tutors on the course.

“I was really proud of how the students performed under pressure and the dishes they produced.”

“Tony and Richard are more than happy to come back into the Food Tech Centre and repeat this opportunity for students, hopefully in November or December, giving our students vital experience in the way chefs operate in the real world.”

“The standard was very, very high which made the decision of picking out one particular dish as the winner very hard,” said Tony.

“In fact, it was impossible to pick an overall winner.”

“I would have been proud to put any of the dishes the students had prepared on my menu at the Blue Bell Restaurant, I was that impressed.”