Macclesfield College celebrate Inter-College Team Challenge success
PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 May 2014
They came, they cooked, they conquered. A culinary triumph by young chef students at Macclesfield College gives a whole new dimension to 'fast food'
The team of three students from Macclesfield College, making its debut in one of the most prestigious and challenging competitions in North Wales, scooped gold medals for preparing, cooking and serving a four-course gourmet meal for two from scratch in just 90 minutes...and on a budget of no more than £20.
Led by part-time lecturer Scott Surtees, head pastry chef and senior sous chef at the three-AA Rosette Alderley Edge Hotel, the trio - level-3 students Iestyn Paton, 17, from Prestbury, Anton Partington, 17, from Stockport, and level-2 student Blaise Murphy, 16, from Whaley Bridge - entered the flagship Inter-College Team Challenge at the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Llandrillo College, Colwyn Bay.
Scott said: ‘It was the first time ever that Macclesfield College had entered this particular contest, but the team not only won gold medals but were named by the judges ‘Best in the Whole Competition’ against some pretty formidable opposition from much larger colleges.
The three students are all studying professional cookery, one of several courses related to the hospitality industry run by the catering department at Macclesfield College’s new Park Lane campus, which boasts state-of-the-art equipment and an attractive training restaurant.
All three said they had been inspired by watching leading chefs demonstrating their creative skills on television. Said Anton: ‘I hope to travel when I have qualified and work in top Michelin-starred restaurants,’ and Blaise, in his first year at the college, echoed: ‘I definitely want to get to the top and use cookery as a passport to work abroad.’ Iestyn added: ‘I want to develop my skills and eventually open my own place.’
Scott, who has lectured at the college on pastry and confectionery courses since joining the brigade at the renowned Alderley Edge Hotel in 2005, said: ‘When I knew we were entering the Inter College Challenge I devised a menu of four courses but it was subject to a lot of discussion and the final version really was a team effort.’
The four mouth-watering courses that so impressed the seven judges comprised twice-baked blue cheese soufflé with a ‘deconstructed’ Waldorf salad; flame-grilled mackerel with horseradish and pickled cauliflower and cucumber; Horseshoe Farm chicken done two ways - breast poached sous vide, legs schnitzel-style - with cabbage and parsnip purée and finally, lemon posset with bergamot, black sesame tuile biscuit and white chocolate sorbet.
‘We were allowed to practise at the college, so when it came down to the heat of competition, the team was pretty slick and it all went very well,’ said Scott.
College curriculum leader Mark Boswell said: ‘I have watched this competition in Wales for the last three years running and I knew we could win it; we just needed the right team and the right manager. We’re fortunate this team came together. With their skills, hard work and passion for the industry they are unbeatable.’
And Scott added: ‘We feel that this is a massive achievement for the college, the town, and indeed the catering department because we beat off stiff competition from several other colleges and establishments that are huge compared with us. To take the highest prize and to be voted best of the best on our first attempt was just fantastic.
‘The results were announced the day after the competition and we were unable to go back to Llandrillo, so they were streamed live to us via U-tube.
‘The team was in the Silk Room restaurant at the college when the news came through and the celebration was, shall we say, very enthusiastic.’ n