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 front of house Cheltenham

Hospitality and business students from West Suffolk College have been working for a week in front of house and in the kitchens of Chez Roux at the Cheltenham Festival.

Helping at the ‘pop-up’ restaurant has become an annual event thanks to the college’s close links with top chef Albert Roux. A team of students worked in the kitchens and a larger team served customers in the restaurant where dining experiences cost up to £1,200 on Gold Cup day.

It has proved to be an amazing work experience for the 19 students who were chosen for their ability and achievement.   The kitchen students work alongside Toby Stuart, himself a former West Suffolk student.

They have been helping to create and serve canapes, a four course menu and an afternoon tea plus drinks package that costs between £800 and £1,200 per person at the horse racing festival which attracts thousands of race goers.

Kieran Hassall spent his week preparing food and said: “Working with the Roux family was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was a very long week, but very enjoyable. The whole experience has reinforced my aim to become a chef.”

For Matthew Harris working the front of house dealing with customers who expect the best, was “Amazing, but also very hard work and tiring. It helped me think about what I wanted to do in the future.” As a bonus Matthew met former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan.

Customers also included Zara Phillips and Rod Stewart.

Andy McGowan, hospitality and events manager at the college, said: “It was a fantastic week. All the students worked really hard and did the college and themselves proud. They worked in a high pressure environment with customers who had high expectations when they were paying a lot of money for their dining experiences.”

Albert Roux with students