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Pic PTIA West Suffolk College team wins 'A passion to inspire' competition. Pictures: Brian Tunbridge.

A team from West Suffolk College demonstrated their passion for food and hospitality perfectly when their menu and service beat other college teams from across the region to win the 2019 ‘A passion to Inspire’ competition.

The outstanding food and front of house service meant that the college is the only college to have won the trophy two years running. Winners Alfred Bloomfield, Emily Gleed and Dan Blackburn will now be invited to the Skills for Chefs 2019 event where they will meet Culinary Legends Daniel Clifford and Clare Smyth as well as winning a host of other experiences and treats.

Mike Mulvihill, Director of Service Industries at the College said “It was a great privilege to host and once again take part in ‘A passion to inspire,’ all teams did so well and all involved should be proud. I am so proud of Alfred, Emily and Dan; they have embraced our college character strengths showing ambition, resilience, confidence and self-control the whole way through. This competition continues to support the young talent we have and it continues to inspire all involved.”

The West Suffolk College team produced smoked Loch Duart salmon, sorrel emulsion, asparagus, samphire, cucumber & apple slaw served with domaine ferrand. Followed by Ben Rigby Muntjac with hasselback potatoes, smoked hazelnut puree, rhubarb & beetroot ketchup. Dessert was rum baba with honey & cinnamon spiced cream and pineapple & banana flambé.

Judging the winners were UK leading chef Mark Poynton Chef/ Director MJP Restaurants, Nick Mills Director -Brasteds, Nick Claxton-Webb Executive Chef - Adnams, Shara Ross Hotel Consultant and Eric Snaith Chef Patron Titchwell Manor Hotel.

The competition was sponsored and supported by Lock Duart, Dingley Dell, Nurtured in Norfolk, Anglia Produce, Direct Meats, Ben Rigby Game, Russums and Hallgarten Wines.

Alfred, Emily and Dan were thrilled with the result and were inspired to participate by Chef Lecturer Stuart Ascott and mentor James Carn. James Carn who is currently working as a Chef at All Saints Hotel said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to mentor these students and I think it’s important for industry professionals to share techniques, ingredients and experiences with the young talent coming through.Edmunds do a fantastic job of linking their students with industry and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Dan, from Diss said: “I’m so happy our hard work has paid off, it has been a challenging but amazing experience and we couldn’t have done it without Stuart, James and the whole team at Edmunds who have been so supportive.”

‘A Passion to Inspire’ was founded by Murray Chapman in 2009 and was set up to bridge the gap between up and coming catering and hospitality students and the hospitality industry. A Passion to Inspire has raised over £220k for charity.

Pic 4 PTI

Murray said: “The standard this year was extremely high and each team did so well. Congratulations to all five colleges for reaching the final. Thanks must go out to our sponsors, judges, mentors and lecturers as without them this would not go ahead. Thanks also to Mike and the team at Edmunds for their fantastic hospitality.

Murray continued: It is great to see these colleges and students coming together and being supported by local producers, suppliers and employers – it gives you faith that these young people can succeed in this industry!”

Congratulations to College of West Anglia, Colchester Institute, Chelmsford College, and Cambridge Regional College and West Suffolk College  for reaching the grand final. To reach the final - 5 Heats - 24 teams - 72 Students and lots of Great Lecturers - Mentors - Chefs and Employers

Next year the competition will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary where Murray will be looking to head back to Bury St Edmunds where it was created to host the event as well as a celebratory Gala dinner, raising money for a local charity as well as the colleges.

Full list of Prizes given to the winners:

  • The Winners Trophy - Skills for Chefs 2019 -Dinner/ Stage at Titchwell Manor - Chef Jackets and aprons from Russums - Stunning Chefi Knife rolls - College farm visit to Dingley Dell Pork Farm
  • Infusions Group Day Experience - College Day visit with Nurtured in Norfolk - College Wine Tasting Experience Hallgarten and Druitt Wines