Talented young chefs have been whipping up culinary treats for diners at The Brookfield Hotel in Emsworth.
As part of Emsworth’s British Food Fortnight, students from Highbury College and Chichester College took over the hotel restaurant and kitchen, putting their skills to the test.
The Great British Menu college lunches kicked off with Highbury pupils before Chichester and South Downs students took over.
Adam Watts, 22, is on a higher education course studying events management at Chichester College.
Speaking during the lunchtime service, he said: “It’s all going really well. There are quite a few students who have never done this before, so it’s been very busy and hasn’t all gone according to plan, but it’s been a good experience.”
One of the organisers of the food fortnight, Alistair Gibson, said last year’s lunches were such a success tickets this year sold out within days.
“We chose these three colleges because they could potentially have students from Emsworth,” he said.
“And South Downs, Highbury and Chichester all have catering departments.
“The Brookfield kindly agreed to allow them to take over for one lunchtime each so the pupils designed their own restaurant menu and student chefs prepare and cook it, while the students front of house serve it.
“In many ways this has been one of the most successful events. It’s an opportunity for young people to experience real world catering.
“We are trying to take all members of the community with us through food fortnight.
“The college lunch was the reason we decided to go into primary schools - it’s a real food education experience.”
Alistair said the community rallied round to make Food Fortnight a success.
“Events like this only work if everybody works together. Most businesses in Emsworth are keen to get involved in Food Fortnight.”
Diane Jackson is deputy head of the travel, tourism and hospitality department at Chichester College.
Overseeing the front of house staff at the event, she said the lunches were a fantastic opportunity for her pupils to hone their skills.
“We have five degree students, six first years who only arrived two weeks ago and five second year BTEC students,” she said. “So it’s really exciting for them all.”
David Whittle, 68, took 13 friends along to enjoy the lunch prepared by Chichester College pupils.
Mr Whittle, who lives in Kings Terrace, Emsworth, said: “I’ve always been interested in food and have been a member of several gourmet societies.
“Emsworth Food Festival stopped because it became too popular and successful- we had around 400,000 visitors at one point. I thought it was the most incredible thing I had ever seen.
“But Alistair Gibson then discovered British Food Fortnight so set that up. The ideas he comes up with are amazing.
“I decided to support it by taking a table last year at the college lunches with a group of people.
“It is such a fantastic thing for the students because they get to experience what it is like taking over a restaurant and a kitchen. We like to give constructive feedback.
“I brought 12 people along for the Highbury College lunch earlier in the week and the food was absolutely excellent.
“It’s an ideal way to find out at the sharp end how it all works - they are learning so much.”
Keith Adams is restaurant and bar manager at The Brookfield.
“I think it’s absolutely brilliant for the students,” said Keith.
“We give them the restaurant and kitchen and they turn up at 9am and do everything, organising themselves and working together.
“I have told them to run it exactly how they would at college.
“For the students I think it’s absolutely brilliant - I never got the chance to do anything like this.
“A lot of our customers really support it as well.”
Carly Lane from Midhurst is studying hospitality and catering at Chichester College.
“This is a really good event, but quite stressful,” said the 18-year-old.
Working front of house came naturally to Carly, who already has a part-time job working at Petworth House.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.chichester.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ChichesterObserver
3) Follow us on Twitter @Chiobserver
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Chichester Observer - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.