Colchester Institute students have triumphed after winning ‘A Passion to Inspire’ Competition, following a series of heats against 5 competing colleges. Team members Amy Brown, Jade Walmsley and Hazel Webb, who impressed judges with their three course menu, were delighted to be hailed as the winners commenting:
“We are shocked because the standard was so high this year, we didn’t expect to win. Everyone was a worthy winner in our eyes and we feel humbled that we came out on top. It was definitely worth all of the effort and late nights.”
The star-studded final, hosted by Colchester Institute on Tuesday 13th June 2017, featured professional chefs Russell Bateman, Nick Henn, Nick Claxton-Webb, Eric Snaith and Mark Poynton as judges to assess the teams’ ideas and execution. Judges Shara Ross and Nick Mills were also on hand to assess the students’ front of house skills. The competition differs to other catering and hospitality skills competitions due to the focus on each aspect of the creative process. ‘A Passion to Inspire’ was founded by Director of First Contact Chefs Murray Chapman and created with the intention to bring the industry and education sector closer together.
Mark Poynton, Chef/Owner at Restaurant Alimentum, was pleased with the students’ passion for cooking saying:
‘It’s exciting to watch young people so excited about using fresh produce and cooking with new flavours. These could be our star chefs of the future.’
The scheme is supported by a number of prestigious organisations who ‘partner’ with ‘A Passion to Inspire’ to support young chefs and front of house students such as Russums, Anglia Produce, Direct Meats, Nurtured In Norfolk, Infusions 4 Chefs and Dingley Dell Pork. They supply all of the essentials for the competition such as chef jackets, local produce and prizes for the winners.
Richard Russum, Commercial Director at Russums, commended Murray on the difference he has made to young chefs so far as well as Colchester Institute for their teaching provision:
“Due to the quality of lecturers at Colchester Institute people have bothered to come and help at the final. We support Colchester Institute fully and what Murray is doing is mixing both education and the industry. This has grown so much because of Murray and it has given students exposure into the industry and a taster of how to be successful in a professional environment.”
Ian Perkins, Assistant Area Head of Hospitality at Colchester Institute highlighted the opportunities that winning will bring his students, commenting:
“It’s an inspiring journey and opportunity for the students to develop and perfect new skills in the heats all the way through to the final. Winning the competition now gives Amy, Jade and Hazel the chance to experience new, exciting tastes and techniques with Stages and taster menus at Alimentum, Titchwell Manor and the Skills for Chefs Conference in Sheffield. The students really enjoyed participating in the competition and are now excited by the opportunities they now have after winning.”