Fareham College gets to final of national restaurant competition

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A college-run restaurant has gained its place in the final for College Restaurant of the Year.

Avenue 141, the restaurant at Fareham College, is run by students as part of their studies in hospitality and catering.

Level 2 Professional Cookery Students, Ben Smith and Lily Poling, represented the restaurant at the semi finals of the AA College Rosette Scheme in London and returned home with a place in the final which is later this year.

Ben said:’We had such a great time competing on the day. I chose to study Catering at Fareham College because I’ve always enjoyed cooking and now I’m looking forward to continuing on to level 3 while learning in one of the top three restaurants in the country.’

Along with 16 other colleges from across the country, the pair attended a judging day in London where industry experts set a series of practical tasks to test candidates.

Owner of the only two star Michelin pub in the UK and TV chef, Tom Kerridge set the task to develop a business plan for a new restaurant concept suited to his style of cooking.

Students had to research Tom’s background and style before coming up with an idea in a few hours.

The Avenue 141 team designed a combination of a high-end restaurant with a rustic farm shop edge with the theory that customers could enjoy delicious food and then have the opportunity to buy the same fresh produce from an attached deli.

Ben added: ‘It was fantastic to meet Tom Kerridge, who sat with us for a long time discussing our restaurant concept and giving us feedback. He was really enthusiastic about our ideas and the way he spoke about the industry was really inspiring.’

The competition was developed as part of the AA Award in conjunction with People 1st and was designed to recognise the efforts of students, both front and back of house, who are the future of our hospitality industry.

The college accreditation process recognises colleges offering exceptional hospitality training and those that perform above and beyond in a specialist field as centres of excellence.

Head of Hospitality and Catering, Oonagh Taylor at the college, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have been one of the final three colleges shortlisted for the award.

‘Our students worked incredibly hard in preparation for the event and delivered exceptionally on the day and all of our students work extremely hard in Avenue 141 to ensure a high standard of food and service is provided all year round so it is fantastic to see them getting the recognition they deserve.’

Oonagh added: ‘We are so proud to be a part of this prestigious award and send our best wishes to the other two finalists; Milton Keynes College and South Cheshire College. We now look forward to travelling to London where the winner of the AA College Restaurant of the Year award will be announced at the annual AA Hospitality Awards dinner.’

The dinner will take place on at Grosvenor House in London on September 25.