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Culinary competition heats up

01 March 2019

Next week, Jersey is hosting a national culinary competition that will see local students team up with chefs to compete against top colleges from across the UK.

Students and staff at Highlands College are hoping to defend their title as champions of the 2017 and 2018 national Heat competition in this year’s event, which is supported by Skills Jersey, and takes place at Highlands Academy Restaurant on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 March.

One of four finalists, the 11-strong Jersey team is made up of eight Highlands students, working with Michelin-starred chef Lee Smith from Samphire, who will lead the team alongside two Highlands staff: chef lecturer, Dominic Farrell, and restaurant trainer, Mihaela Lazerescu.

The students are all studying professional cookery or front of house qualifications.
The Jersey finalists will compete against Farnborough, Middlesbrough and South Eastern Regional (Bangor) colleges to win the Peter Queree Trophy.

Each college’s team will cook a three-course lunch or dinner that will be judged by four top chefs in the UK catering industry and front of house students will be judged on their level of service.

The winners will be announced at a Gala Celebration dinner hosted by food and drink journalist and broadcaster, Nigel Barden, on Thursday, 7 March at St Brelade’s Bay Hotel.

Heat, which is supported by Jersey’s Samphire restaurant, sees some of the top colleges in the UK competing to win the opportunity to take part in the competition, which has become a fixture in the National Craft Guild of Chefs events calendar.

The competition attracts the support of top chefs, and this year sees Michelin-starred Frances Atkins heading up the team from Middlesbrough; Culinary Director for Compass Group, Robert Kennedy, leading Farnborough; and Executive Chef for the Culloden Estate & Spa in Belfast, Paul McKnight, participating with the Bangor-based team.

The Judges are: Executive Chef at The Dorchester, Henri Brosi; Craft Guild of Chef Vice President and Chef Ambassador at Gourmet Classic, Stephen Scuffell; Chair of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Andrew Bennett MBE, and Chef Consultant Paul Gayler.

Founder and organiser of Heat, and Director of Culinary Arts, at Highlands College, Eileen Buicke-Kelly, said: “Highlands College is the home of Heat and we’re delighted to have some of the top catering colleges in the UK participating in this year’s competition. It’s an opportunity to promote the catering profession as an attractive career choice and for the students to showcase their skills. We’re very grateful for the level of support we’ve received from across the industry, particularly from our 16 sponsors, as this competition couldn’t take place without them.”

Principal of Highlands College, Steve Lewis, said: “Our Highlands College Culinary Arts Team has been part of the Heat competition since its inception three years ago. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Highlands students to compete with the “best of the best” from the UK and to show off our first-class professional catering and restaurant facilities. We’re of course hoping for third time lucky, but whoever wins will have had a fabulous learning experience working with some of the most experienced chefs around.”

Assistant Minister for Education, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming all participants and visitors involved in Heat 2019. It’s a great example of partnerships in action, which has included Skills Jersey and Highlands College working with the competition organisers and supporters to co-ordinate Jersey’s entry and prepare for the competition itself. I’m also pleased that we’ll be able to showcase a little of what makes Jersey special as visiting student chefs from the other colleges will get a chance to explore the island and meet local suppliers to learn about some of our local produce.”

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