Graduating students in fine-dining finalé

Chloe, Rees, Cory, Jay and Amy in the kitchens on Refined, ahead of their graduation evening.

Chloe, Rees, Cory, Jay and Amy in the kitchens on Refined, ahead of their graduation evening.

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Aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals at West Nottinghamshire College are set to showcase their gourmet genius and sparkling service.

Students Rees Whelpton, Cory Russell, Amy Locker, Chloe Broadhurst and Jay Tyler-Watson are putting the final touches to their graduation evening on Friday June 10, which will mark the end of their studies.

They are combining their talents to lay on an evening of gastronomy and glamour for more than 60 diners including family and friends in the college’s fine-dining restaurant, Refined, which students help to run as part of their courses.

Rees, 18, and Cory, 20, who have studied the level 3 diploma in professional cookery, have been responsible for devising the dishes, calculating costs and ordering the produce for their five-course finalé.

The pair, from Mansfield, will oversee the kitchen, working with head chef Mark Jones and fellow students in cooking-up starters such as torched smoked mackerel fillet with samphire and soused shallots, a spiced pumpkin soup, and mains including lamb chump with boulangère potatoes, roasted carrots, and pea and mint puree; and Mediterranean vegetable wellington.

A pre-dessert of Eton mess and puddings including apple crumble with panna cotta and hazelnut crunch, and chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream and almond praline, will round-off the banquet.

Cory said: “We’ve created the menu based on everything we’ve learnt in lessons while taking inspiration from dishes we have worked on during service on the restaurant’s fine-dining evenings.

“We’ve considered the seasonality of fruit and vegetables, what complements certain meats, and how each dish will look. There’s more pressure knowing it’s all down to us but we feel ready and we’re confident everything will go to plan.”

Service will be directed by level 3 diploma in hospitality supervision and leadership graduates Amy, Chloe and Jay, supported by students and front-of-house trainer Lee Coupe.

The trio, all aged 19, have come-up with a graduation theme that will see the restaurant decked out in a black, gold and white colour scheme.

Chloe, from Mansfield, said: “We’re doing a full a la carte set-up, with gold charger plates on the tables, drinks on arrival, and little pop-corn boxes and cupcakes handed out to guests – then it’ll be straight into service.

“We did some online research for ideas to show off our talents and came up with something that really inspired us.”

The five students are now looking forward to taking the next steps towards fulfilling their career aspirations after leaving college.

Cory, whose immediate plans are to work full-time at the Mansfield branch of Bella Italia where he is currently a waiter, aims to put his culinary skills into practice by becoming a chef.

Rees will progress to a full-time chef’s role at the Black Bull Bar and Bistro in Blidworth, where he already works part-time, before pursuing his ultimate dream of working in a Michelin-starred restaurant in London.

Amy, from Hucknall, recently gave birth to a baby girl, Orla-Isla, and will initially devote herself to raising her child. Her long-term ambition is to open a café with her mum, Nichola Price.

Chloe is off to Plymouth University to study a degree in events management this September, after gaining inspiration from helping run events at Center Parcs’ Sherwood Forest Holiday Village, where she works at outside of college.

Meanwhile, Jay, from Mansfield, will spend the next year as a full-time restaurant and bar supervisor at the town’s Havanas Tapas Bar and Restaurant before studying a degree in hospitality and management at the University of Lincoln in September 2017, having already secured his place. His eventual goal is to open his own restaurant overseas.