Catering students cook up a storm at Chelsea Brasserie

20 April 2015

The first group of Gloucestershire College’s Catering and Hospitality students has now successfully completed its five-week work experience placement at Chelsea Bar and Brasserie in Cheltenham, as part of the College’s vocational training partnership with the popular restaurant.

Since March, 30 Level 2 and Level 3 Catering students have been working at the contemporary cocktail bar and restaurant for one day a week each, Monday to Friday, in the kitchen and front of house, and gained a whole host of skills that will give them the edge in future employment.

As part of their placement programme, each student started by shadowing current staff, before taking on real responsibilities ranging from laying tables, serving drinks and taking orders through the till to preparing and cooking food from the Early Bird, a la carte and special menus.

Restaurant Coordinator and Assessor, Wendy Richins, said: “The first group of students has done brilliantly well at Chelsea Bar and Brasserie. Working in a commercial kitchen with real customers – and real challenges – has not only improved their confidence, but also their cookery, customer service and presentation skills, as well as given them an insight into a how the restaurant business works.”

Manager Sammy Badat said: “Gloucestershire College’s students already had a good knowledge of the kitchen and front of house when they joined Chelsea Bar and Brasserie, but they have all progressed greatly over the past five weeks. They have learnt a great deal from our team here and from experiencing busy services – especially during Race Week – and I would definitely consider hiring a few of them in the future!”

The students who worked front of house learnt a range of skills including greeting guests; laying tables; wine service; how to use a till; how to make a variety of drinks and cocktails; stock rotation; and how to carry a selection of different plates.

18-year-old Nicole Taylor-Pockett from Gloucester, who has been working front of house, said: “I’ve really enjoyed working at Chelsea Bar and Brasserie, and have learnt everything from how orders travel from the till to the kitchen to how to match wines to different dishes. My favourite part has been working as part of a team and meeting new people.” 

18-year-old Gregory Lydiard from Cheltenham, who has also been working front of house, added: “I’ve had a great time working behind the bar. It’s been a completely new experience for me and made me more proactive and confident with customers. I will miss working with the team here.”

Students working in the kitchen learnt how to correctly use professional equipment; food storage and labelling; different cuts of meat; how to make and present a range of dishes; how to clean down after a service; and much more.

Head Chef Rory Emmerson said: “The students have done exceedingly well and I’ve been really impressed by how they follow instructions and recipes, and by their diligence. I’ve taught them a great deal during these five weeks, such as fishmongery, butchery and how to create different sauces. I’m definitely going to miss them.”

17-year-old Nicholas Holder from Cheltenham, who has been working in the kitchen, said: “This was my first experience of working in a commercial kitchen and I’ve had the chance to work with luxurious ingredients such as lobster and venison, and even learnt how to butcher a rabbit.”

18-year-old Ashley Sheppard from Cheltenham, who has also been working in the kitchen added: “The team here is so knowledgeable, especially Rory, who has been an amazing mentor. My favourite part was learning sugarwork and this experience has reinforced my decision to pursue a career as a chef once I complete my course.”

The next group of students begin their five-week placements at Chelsea Bar and Brasserie this week. Alongside studying at Gloucestershire College and working in its on-site commercial restaurants Food Central Cheltenham and Beechwood Restaurant, the students will build upon their existing skills and knowledge to ensure they leave college fully prepared for the world of work.

For more information about the Catering courses available at Gloucestershire College, watch GC The Movie at www.gloscol.ac.uk/catering or call Student Services on 0345 155 2020.

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