Major Series 2018 kicked off at Bournemouth and Poole College
With three kitchen challenges – chicken, street food and pasta - as well as the restaurant plated mains, gateaus, bread rolls and afternoon tea services, chairman of judges for the Craft Guild of Chefs, Wayne Harris, said: “I’ve been the Chairman of the Judges for the Major Series for six years now and its wonderful to see the competition growing year on year with new venues coming on board.
“It’s such an invaluable experience taking part in something like this, as it gives the students a massive confidence boost as well as allowing them to keep growing and improving their skills to prepare them for the workplace and other competitions.”
Bournemouth and Poole College senior instructor, Martin Tarbuck, added: “Something like the Major Series, which is honed in on students with the possibility of them going on to compete at a national level, is absolutely fantastic.
“It’s a chance for them to experience something new and something which may inspire them to go on and compete again.”
Each challenge required contestants to showcase their cooking abilities while acknowledging current trends and their own innovative ideas. The street food challenge, dubbed “one of the biggest players in today’s culinary scene,” offered the prime opportunity, with Highbury College chef lecturer, Matthew Sussex, commenting: “The Major Series is a massive opportunity for our students to not only build on the skills they are learning in college, but also to look at the flavours of different cultures.
“Experimenting with the Major Mari Bases has been a really good chance for them to play around with different levels of spicing, which is all good knowledge for (students) to have going forward.”
Contestant Ashley Ferrand who created a Bombay marinated sea bass fillet with mustard spiced green beans and Bombay potatoes on the side, explained: “I originally thought of making a curry but I knew a lot of people were doing rice and curry dishes, so I chose to spice it up a bit by making sea bass. The sweet, coconut flavour of the Bombay marinade really complimented the other flavours of my dish and that’s why I chose it in the end.”
Judge of the new-for-this-year pasta challenge and prep chef and instructor at Bournemouth and Poole College, David Marshall, added: “Overall, I was impressed with what I saw today. Although in some cases the nerves unfortunately got the better of (students), on the whole the dishes produced were well thought through.
“I would have liked to have seen a little more emphasis on presentation throughout the class but I think it’s really important that the students are going away today with skills that will help them progress from this point on, whether that’s because they’re more geared up for working in a pressurised environment, or just because they’ve had the opportunity to showcase their skills to a wider audience.”
Culinary team captain for the Craft Guild of Chefs, Christopher Basten, summarised: “To an employer, a list of medals on your CV makes you a very attractive candidate as it not only shows willingness, but also a commitment and passion for the job.”
With over 82 entries for 2018 (almost double last year’s), the first heat at second-time host Bournemouth and Poole College, saw its own student Laszlo Nemeth crowned the overall winner, who will go on to compete against the other regional winners in the national final at The Great Hospitality Show 2019.
Other key dates:
Friday 2nd February – South Devon College
Wednesday 28th March – New College Durham
Thursday 31st May – Coventry College