A team of Hospitality and Catering students from the Downpatrick Campus of SERC have won a host of medals and awards at the hospitality trade show, IFEX Chef Skills 2012, in the Kings Hall, Belfast.
The students took part in a variety of competitions at the hospitality show and impressed judges with their technical skills and creativity to walk away with multiple gold, silver, bronze and merit awards.
Chef student, Shane Rush, who studies NVQ level 3 in Professional cookery, competed in the Junior Duck competition and impressed judges with his roast duck with orange fluid gel, fondant and hazelnuts to take home a merit award. A range of merit awards were also dished out to Kelly Ann Nolan who competed in the NI Chef Ability award and Aimee Donnan for the Junior Fish challenge.
As the competition heated up, chef student Declan Megoran, aged nineteen kept his cool to secure Silver in the Junior Poultry challenge. Daniel Wormell also impressed judges with his dish of loin of Irish lamb baked in hay, caramelised sweetbreads, black pudding bon bons and spring vegetables to win Silver in the Senior Lamb category.
Speaking on his success, Daniel said: “I entered the Senior Lamb class not expecting to win, so it was a pleasant surprise to receive the Silver medal.
“The competition required me to prepare and bone a loin of lamb and cook it live during the exhibition in full view of the public and under the watchful eye of the judges so it was very nerve racking. It was a lot of hard work and extremely tiring, but after winning the award it’s definitely been worth it.”
Michael Gillies, catering lecturer at SERC said:“Declan and Daniel are very keen, capable students who have shown a real passion for the food and the hospitality industry. Winning a Silver medal in such a high profile event is a fantastic achievement.
“These guys were up against some of the best in the industry. Winning silver in this competition is just the beginning of a brilliant career for them.
Michael went on to say, Aimee Donnan and Shane Rush did exceptional in their competitions achieving a certificate of merit. Hats off to them as it was their first competition.
Meanwhile, Michael set an excellent example for the students when he walked away with a Bronze medal in the prestigious NI Chef of the Year event, with catering student Daniel Wormell by his side helping as commis chef.
In the event Michael was required to devise a menu for a four course meal for two from a basket of mystery ingredients.
On securing Bronze in the NI Chef of the Year challenge, Michael said: “This competition is renowned for its competitiveness and attracted some of the very best up and coming chefs from across Ireland so I am absolutely thrilled to have done so well.
“The event also attracts key people from within the hospitality and catering industry so it’s a great opportunity to showcase what the college offers.”
James Currie Head of School for Business, Hospitality and Tourism for SERC said: “The competition was an excellent opportunity for our students to demonstrate the high level of skills they have learnt during their studies.
“For students and staff to compete so successfully, to such a high standard, is outstanding. This level of success illustrates the quality of education and training on offer within SERC’s School of Business, Hospitality and Catering and showcases how talented our students really are.”