A haul of twelve medals including four gold medals and a national final in Birmingham were among the incredible achievements of local students at a distinguished regional cooking competition.
Professional Cookery students from Cornwall College Saltash took part in The Major Series South West regional heat, held at South Devon College last Friday.
They bagged an impressive four gold medals including two best in class along with four silver and four bronze.
Former Liskeard Community College student Charlie Walters, 17, who is studying Level 3 Professional Cookery at Cornwall College Saltash, won gold in both the Hot Chicken and Static Plated Mains categories along with reaching the National Finals for the second year running.
“I felt a bit more pressure going into it this year after doing so well last year,” Charlie explained.
“I practised a lot leading up to the competition. I’m quite surprised to reach the Nationals for the second year running, and really proud about what I’ve achieved.”
The finals this year are in London and next year it will be Birmingham.
“It is a great course here, because we are such a tight knit college everyone knows each other and the support we get from lecturers is fantastic,” Charlie continued.
“I would definitely recommend the course to others looking to have a career in the industry. I work part time at the Sail Loft in Looe and it’s great to put into practice what I am learning in the classroom. In the look term I want to work in a Michelin-star restaurant.”
Former Saltash.Net student Jessica Treacy, 16, who is studying Level 2 Technical Certificate in Food Preparation and Service at Cornwall College Saltash, revealed she was “really surprised to get a gold”.
“I was quite nervous on the day, anything can go wrong so I had to really concentrate. It was a massive eye opener seeing so many students and their different ideas,” she continued.
“This competition has made me realise I can do more than I thought. I am really enjoying the course, looking to the future I am already working with college to find an appropriate apprenticeship.”
The national competition, sponsored by Craft Guild of Chefs, has four heats across the country open to junior and senior student chefs of varying skill levels, providing students with seven different classes to choose from.
Student, Chloe Spear, 17, who was previously a student at Coombe Dean School, found the competition experience “a massive confidence boost”.
“I won gold last year too so I felt extra pressure to do well this year,” she explained.
“I feel really lucky to have this experience two years running during my course at Cornwall College Saltash, the lecturers have all been really supportive. I would 100% recommend studying here for anyone looking to follow a career in the catering industry.
“Entering the competition has given me even more passion and drive to do the best I can and show flair in the dishes I create.”
Development Chef and competition organiser, Wayne Harris, thought the “passion and commitment” shown by the Cornwall College Saltash students was “shown in the results that they earned on the day”.
“These young chefs cooked with their heart and soul and you could tell that they had practised their dishes beforehand on many occasions,” Wayne continued.
“It is a pleasure to have Cornwall College Saltash competing in the Major Series competition, this has been their second year and the team they put in is increasing and the standard shown is improving.”
Team Lead for Professional Cookery at Cornwall College Saltash, Chris Penk, said “we are all so proud of what Chloe, Charlie and Jessica have achieved, they are fantastic results.”
“The continued excellence from Charlie and Chloe also inspired eight first year students to enter who all achieved medals in every category. They were extremely professional on the day and it was great to see them supporting each other,” he added.
“Results such as these showcase the quality of training and employability skills that our students gain whilst here at Cornwall College Saltash. We support them to enter competitions and work at events we exhibit at so they get a wide understanding of the industry throughout their course.”
There is a Courses and Careers Advice Event on Saturday 17th March 10am until Midday for students who may be interested in cookery courses to come along and meet the teams and explore the facilities.