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Burnt Mill hoping for no ‘Burnt Meals’ after welcoming top chef

Burnt Mill Academy / Sun 31st Dec 2017 at 12:03pm

By Adam Spartley

ASPIRING chefs were put through their paces at Burnt Mill Academy following a visit from professional chef Ben Nottage.

Students studying the new NCFE food and cookery course were taught professional knife skills and shown how to make, roll and bake pastry as they made a vegetarian quiche, before Ben spoke openly with them about working in one of the worlds most stressful occupations.

Students working on their quiche's

Students perfecting their pastry skills

‘With schools, it’s about getting students into cooking early. It’s about showing them what they can become if they put in the hard work. My message is also if they do not enjoy it, there is no point doing the job as it’s about long hours and lots of pressure’, said Ben, currently working at Station 169 of Raddison Blu Hotel at Stansted Airport.

London is one of the food capitals of the world, boasting 70 Michelin star restaurants and thousands of top class dining destinations, meaning that Harlow students are within commuting distance of some of the greatest job opportunities available in the industry.

Having previously worked for Gary Rhodes, who has five Michelin stars under his apron, Ben has worked his way through the highest levels of the industry, and the students reacted commendably to his presence and were eager to listen as he spoke of the realities of working in a busy kitchen.

The staff at Burnt Mill were equally impressed with the impact Ben had on the students.

‘It was really useful for students to learn from a professional chef, learning techniques such as chopping with sharp knives with expert guidance. Students were really engaged and asked Ben lots of questions,’ said art and design teacher Rosie Hayes.

Ben Nottage with some of the Year 9. 10 and 11 students.

Ben with some of the Year 9. 10 and 11 students

The day was set up with help from The Springboard Charity, which helps young people to achieve their potential by providing advice, training and specialist skills courses. The charity also developed the Future Chef programme, which alongside the Junior Chef Academy have helped Burnt Mill to forge invaluable links with the food industry.

These links have led to former Burnt Mill student Connor Dollard, 19, landing an apprenticeship with Ben at Station 169, after taking part in a Future Chef contest.

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