Think of student food and beans on toast or Pot Noodles probably spring to mind.
Those culinary clichés couldn’t be further from the reality at Chichester College, where an amazing new student restaurant has just opened.
Steven Edwards, the 2013 Masterchef: The Professionals champion was on hand to officially open Café 19 and 64 Restaurant & Bar - named after 1964, the year the college opened - at Friday’s launch night.
Steven had spent the day working with the 50 hospitality and catering students to inspire and help them produce a range of canapés for the many guests.
Steven said: “I’ve been trying to challenge them and I’ve seen a lot of potential.
“The students are at the best age to learn and when chefs like myself look at potential, the first question isn’t can they cook, it’s do they have the right attitude to progress and can they work as a team and I saw that today.
“Not everyone is aiming to work in a 5* restaurant and catering is one of the fastest growing industries so it’s great that these students are being given the best opportunity to find employment.”
The college has invested nearly £3m in the training project, which is part funded by a significant grant by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.
And the major financial commitment shows following an eight-month refurbishment with a huge state-of-the-art kitchen for student training, along with a new student-run restaurant and bistro, which are now open to the public.
Speaking in the brand new open plan kitchen full of high-tech, touch-screen ovens all with USB capability, Julia Williams, head of learning for service industries said: “It’s so important the students will be cooking and serving to real customers.
“Everything is top spec, we are totally paperless using iPads to order so it’s futureproofed for the next 20 years.
“The students have picked everything up so quickly, it’s a great success.”
Students like Millie Harrington, 16, and Scott Burrows, 23, were among those who created the tasty canapes for the distinguished guests - with most of the team who made the salmon and cucumber bites admitting they don’t even like fish.
Principal Shelagh Legrave OBE thanked all those involved and said: “We are extremely proud of our new kitchens and restaurants, which will give our students the opportunity to develop and hone their skills in a fantastic environment.”
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