Students cook up a storm in national competition

New College Durham hosted heat three of the annual Major Series Culinary Competition on Wednesday 28 March. A total of 56 catering and hospitality students from New College Durham and Hartlepool College of Further Education competed in the prestigious national event.

The Major Series competition is the only event of its kind to be held in the North East. Up and coming chefs showcase their skills as they prepare, cook and present new dishes using the extensive range of products manufactured by Major. The nine classes involved a variety of static and live challenges, including the chicken challenge, the street food challenge, afternoon tea and restaurant skills. The competition is supported and judged by the Craft Guild of Chefs.

The competition was predominately held in London and the South West. In 2011, New College Durham’s culinary department approached Major International at the NECTA Competition and instigated the competition moving north. The competition has continued to provide local students with the opportunity to challenge themselves and improve their skills in a friendly yet competitive environment.

The 29 New College Durham students involved were able to build their confidence and self-esteem, as well as developing their employability skills and showcasing their skills to employers. William Bacon and Bethany Gilbey placed Bronze and Silver in their heats. This is a great achievement as they only joined New College Durham on Choices Plus in January.

The College’s innovative Choices Plus programme gives students the exciting opportunity to start on a full-time vocational courses or an apprenticeship programme later on in the academic year, to help them reach their full potential.

Paul Richardson, Lecturer, said: “It is an honour to host this prestigious culinary event. The Major Series competition has given students at New College Durham the opportunity to represent the College and compete in a national competition. It will look great on their CVs and will hopefully encourage the students to enter further competitions.”

Kirsty Bell, Level 1 Catering & Hospitality student, said: “This was my first attempt at taking part in a competition, never mind a national competition. It was a fantastic opportunity and despite being demanding I found it very invigorating. I received a gold medal for my Gateau and won the top prize for my live chicken dish. I really enjoyed challenging myself and I look forward to competing again and representing the College.”

Students who participated in the top class “Hot Chicken Dish” heat will be competing in the final at the NEC in Birmingham in January 2019.

For more on this story, visit Major International