2017 College Grand Finals

Monday, March 27, 2017

Student chefs jumping

Still on a high from completing the Fine Dining Challenge at Le Cordon Bleu our college finalists meet at the hotel early on Friday 24 March, eager to find out what is next in store!

Competing in the Grand Finals

  • Belfast Metropolitan College
  • City of Glasgow College
  • Henley College Coventry
  • Southern Regional College Newry
  • University College Birmingham
  • Wild Card – Halesowen College, Sheffield City College and University of Derby Buxton

Pizza making masterclass at Prezzo

Still on a high from completing the Fine Dining Challenge at Le Cordon Bleu our college finalists meet at the hotel early on Friday 24 March, eager to find out what is next in store! Piled into taxis, the teams were whisked over to Prezzo Northumberland Avenue to be greeted by Group Executive Chef Paul Lewis. Along with Chef Nick Butler the students are given a pizza making masterclass – not as easy as it sounds. Skills were tested as volunteers had to spin the dough, before topping and putting into the wood oven; luckily no attempts resulting in floor pizza! The day’s challenge was then set. Each college team would have to create a signature pizza from a mystery box of toppings before heading out to one of six Prezzo restaurants to sell it during lunch service. With just 15 minutes to agree on their pizza and pitch, teams were then whisked down to the kitchens to prep their ingredients. Then, each drew the restaurant they would be heading to and were shipped off to start service. During their three hours at the restaurant teams served the public, sold their pizzas and some were even spotted touting for business in Trafalgar Square!

A journey into the world of wine

Saturday 25th March, 8:15am With a couple of days under their belt the excitement doesn’t wear off as the students are taken to the Wine & Spirits Education Trust where they are told they will all be spending the day working towards getting their Level 1 Award in Wines. After breaking the news that they will tasting wines the proper way, with spittoons, Certified WSET Educators Mike Best and Raul Diaz were joined by Neil Phillips ‘The Wine Tipster’ to take the students through a journey into the world of wine. From types and styles to tasting, service, food pairing and everything in between; the finalists really got to the depth of understanding wine before sitting the 45 minute exam. With a breath of relief and fingers crossed, teams had a relaxing evening ahead, treated to dinner at POCO, winner of the Food Made Good Sustainable Restaurant Award 2016. Could this perhaps be a hint at what was to come on their final day?

The final challenge at Nestlé UK HQ

All packed up and ready to go, our finalists took a final stroll down to St Pancras Station before heading on a train to Gatwick and, more specifically, Nestlé UK&I HQ. Here they were met by Charlie Miers and Nick Fenwicke-Clennell, Co CEOs of Footprint Media Group along with Mark McCullough, CEO at WE ARE Spectacular and Gelf Alderson, Head Chef at River Cottage. Following a talk on sustainable sourcing from Gelf and some insight into marketing in the digital world from Mark the teams were given their fourth and final challenge. They would draw for a classic dish; Omelette Arnold Bennett, Beef Stroganoff or Sole Veronique, then have to create a 90 second video presenting said dish and explain its sustainability. They would also then need to present their video and explanation back to the judges and their peers. Using the Nestlé Professional Development Kitchen the teams get to work, letting their creativity take over and some exciting presentation tactics start to appear. Before they know it presentation time rolls around and the teams use their last opportunity to make a lasting impression!

This day at Nestlé brought around the end of the College Grand Finals. Bittersweet goodbyes were said as the finalists had formed lasting friendships throughout their week together. Now the finalists have just under 7 weeks until they are reunited at The Dorchester for the Awards and announcement of the winning team!



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