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Professional chefs join with students to cook up charity gala dinner

Some of the UK’s top professional chefs joined Hospitality and Catering students from Eastleigh College to cook up a gourmet five course meal, as part of a charity gala dinner held at the College’s training restaurant, East Avenue.

Gary Kilminster, Robin Dudley, Olly Rouse, Luke Matthews, Will Torrent and Ruth Hansom worked alongside Level 1, 2 and 3 Catering students to create the dishes for the evening menu, including Asian pork belly canapes, a quail’s egg starter and a lamb rump main. The exquisite meal was followed by a fundraising raffle and a silent auction to raise money for two charities: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and Epilepsy Research UK.

Will Torrent, Pastry Development Chef, thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the students, “Working with the students has been great, they’re a really good bunch. For me, going into colleges and schools is all about giving them something to take away an opportunity for them to learn new ways of doing things.

“We’ve been making the desserts and tempering chocolate by hand. We’re working on a truffle with a blood-orange jelly centre, champagne flavoured chocolate coating and popping candy – so it’s like a buck’s fizz!”

Level 3 student Amber James has already worked with a handful of professional chefs through various projects with Eastleigh College. She said, “It really helps working with the chefs. I’ve learnt loads today, including how to properly plate up a dish and all the different components you need to think about.”

Attendees at the gala dinner included local businesses such as Elegant Wines, Holiday Inn hotel and Owton’s butchers, as well as regular East Avenue customers. The restaurant re-launched in September 2015 as part of Eastleigh College’s £12 million redevelopment project, as has held many events including afternoon teas and cocktails nights since its opening.

Follow Eastleigh College on Facebook to see more photos of the event and to keep up to date with regular events taking place at East Avenue. To find out more about our Hospitality and Catering courses,  visit our careers page.