Come dine with us for a good cause

DINING OUT From left, Carrieanne Williams, Ryan Nicholas, Katie Francis, Sophie Morton, James Benfield, Mike Beall, head chef at The Alverbank Hotel Ian Stephenson and Stephen Merritt.    Pictures: Sarah Standing (112967_9453)
DINING OUT From left, Carrieanne Williams, Ryan Nicholas, Katie Francis, Sophie Morton, James Benfield, Mike Beall, head chef at The Alverbank Hotel Ian Stephenson and Stephen Merritt. Pictures: Sarah Standing (112967_9453)

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THERE was no £1,000 prize at the end of it, but the young people who took part in the Come Dine With Kids event all felt like winners.

Seven young people, from 16 to 25, took on the challenge of preparing a three-course dinner for 80 guests during the fundraising night at the Alverbank Hotel in Stokes Bay.

TASTY Sophie Morton, with a melon and Parma ham starter.    (112967-940)

TASTY Sophie Morton, with a melon and Parma ham starter. (112967-940)

They prepared a menu of Parma ham with melon, chicken with mushroom and wine sauce and profiteroles to finish.

The evening was in aid of the Kids charity, which cares for disabled and disadvantaged young people up to 25 and has its centre in Salterns Lane, Fareham. The night raised £1,800 for the charity.

Kids’ fundraising manager Matt Wilkinson said: ‘The food was very impressive – they did a great job.

‘It was a very positive experience for them to see how a real kitchen works, they didn’t realise how stressful it could be. There was a real buzz and sense of achievement from them.

‘It was a fun evening, but it also helped their self-confidence and proved to them that despite their disabilities they could achieve something worthwhile.’

Owner of the Alverbank John Morgan said: ‘We’ve been supporters of Kids for about five years since they approached us to help them with a walk they do every December. Since then we’ve got to know them better and we’ve done a few different things for them but thought we would like to do something more.

‘We came up with this idea last year and it’s been very successful.

‘They get a good experience, and it’s quite satisfying for them to see what they can do.’

Stephen Merritt, from Havant, said: ‘They made me feel like I knew what to do and I learnt things like how to chop without chopping your hand off. I liked doing it all and I got to speak to some of the diners after we finished in the kitchen.’

The 25-year-old, who has learning difficulties, said it had inspired him to think about working in a kitchen and added: ‘I had never eaten melon or profiteroles before. They were both really nice. I liked the pastry the best, but I think the girls would prefer the chocolate.’

At the end of the meal, the team were brought into the dining room to rousing applause and presented with certificates.