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Day at the Races for Catering Learners


A total of 34 learners and their tutors made the annual trip to this years Cheltenham Festival to work at the famous four day event from 12 -16 March 2012.

The trip organised by tutor, Chef John Fahy and Compass catering, provides learners with a real taste of what it is like to work within a commercial environment.  A total of 22 Chefs and 9 Waiting Staff were thrust into a hectic busy environment and thrived on the experience.

Their working day began at 05:10 to ensure they were ready to depart at 0615. The journey to the Cheltenham Festival varied from 1hr 15 to 2 hours depending on the traffic, and the same for their return at about 1015pm

Chefs were divided into a variety of kitchens and were quickly thrust into the real working environment, Chef Fahy and three chefs were chosen to work within the glass fronted box kitchen who serviced 600 ‘covers’ (people) on their first day. Another four chefs were sent to another kitchen and others went into the production kitchen preparing foods for other sites. Other chefs worked within individual units along with a professional chef where they prepared dished for up to 140 guests.

Menus varied from £25.00 per head up to £850.00, which included a 3-course meal with wine and afternoon tea whilst watching the racing without going outside.

Chef Fahy accompanied two Level 2 learners and a Level 1 learner whose first task was plating up 600 starters. Menus changed daily consisting of 600 hot/cold lunches followed by 600 afternoon teas and finally preparation for the next day.

Learners were supported by a group of tutors in the kitchens and front of house.

The work experience learners gain from visits such as this is immense. Cheltenham Festival is four days within a fast paced environment working in professional kitchens doing real, paid for work.

John Fahy, Chef Lecturer at Tresham said:
“This experience has made a real difference for our learners; their confidence is now at an all time high. The experience of going in to the real work place has been amazing and all those who took part have got so much from it and can now see what the industry is all about.”

The professional chefs were really impressed with Tresham’s learners and reiterated that they were the best college learners they have worked with in years. Two of our learners, Reece Sterland and Ashley Baron were highlighted as outstanding and praised for their work ethics. Another learner, Ben Page, was presented with an award from the chefs for his enthusiasm and willingness to work.

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