03 December 2012
The Highlands’ Academy Restaurant is being relaunched today (Monday 3 December) after months of renovation work to build new kitchens.
At the launch students, lecturers, contractors, employers and industry experts will have guided tours of the new facilities. Student chefs will be preparing a selection of sweet and savoury dishes while guests look on. The new kitchens are being officially opened by Education, Sport and Culture Minister, Deputy Patrick Ryan, at 5pm.
Deputy Ryan said: “The Academy Restaurant is one of the jewels in Highlands’ crown and has an impressive track record that has included some exciting innovations in the past few years. The excellent new facilities will enable the Academy to go from strength to strength, all to the benefit of our students and the hospitality sector.”
Extensive refurbishment work
The refurbishment work started in June 2012 as students were finishing college for the summer break. The project was run by Highlands’ facilities manager, David Grimes. Work included the installation of ceiling cameras in two of the kitchens so that live footage can be streamed to screens in the kitchen and restaurant. This means students can see demonstrations clearly and diners can watch their food being prepared.
A breakout area equipped with 13 computers has also been created so students can complete project work in the restaurant/kitchen area. Other work included lowering ceilings, new wall tiles, state-of-the-art gas equipment and electrical appliances.
Culinary Arts Curriculum Manager, Eileen Buicke-Kelly, said “The aim was to enhance the students’ experience and training. The young chefs who use these kitchens have all commented on how proud they are to work in such high quality surroundings. This refurbishment has created kitchens of a standard that will enable Highlands to deliver the highest quality training possible.”
The Academy of Culinary Arts was awarded an Outstanding grade in March 2011 by external reviewers. There are currently 113 students enrolled on full-time or day release courses. It provides a wide variety of hospitality courses and this year the team is running more hospitality courses than ever before.