Rotherham College Catering students have had their hands busy preparing and cooking an unusual game dish in an exciting workshop.
As part of the ongoing Teach Too project, there is a growing investment by Rotherham College to provide our students with industry-relevant specialist skills.
Catering Curriculum Manager Will Sibley invited Mark Baines, Chef Sales Manager of Braehead, to share his experience with Rotherham College’s Catering students.
Will said: “We approached Mark due to his highly-skilled background, such as working in Jamie Oliver’s restaurant ‘Fifteen’, and help us provide our students sought-after specialist skills.”
Mark Baines, Chef Sales Manager of Braehead, brought several raw pheasants and demonstrated to the students how to pluck, prepare and cook the birds to a restaurant standard.
Mark added: “The students have cooked the meat on the bone, performed pan work and have produced a very superior product which is consistent from beginning to end.
“Today I was so impressed that every single bird they cooked was to a restaurant standard – for them to produce that first time is impressive. I cooked a plate of food they’ve never cooked before, they went away and replicated it well.”
The workshop taught the participating Catering students the entire process of how the food goes from source to plate. Mark explained how the pheasants were sourced in the Scottish Highlands and would be prepared for presentation as a restaurant-standard game dish.
Shauna Hatton, a Level 3 student in Professional Cookery, took part in the workshop.
She said: “I now know more about game. When you work as a chef you may be given a full bird and told to make a meal out of it; I think this has helped us prepare for these demands in the workplace.
“I think these are skills that I could use in a better class of restaurant. This is another thing I can say that I’ve now done.”
Louise Priestley, also a Level 3 student in Professional Cookery, took the challenge of preparing pheasant as a dish head-on.
She said: “I’ve heard that some places buy pre-packed materials so to see the bird in its raw form was very interesting; I think this will be useful for working in the industry.
“For me, plating the dish up was very interesting as I like food presentation skills. I like the final stages, including certain ways to cut the game and lay it out in an appealing way.
“I’ve always enjoyed the catering industry; I’ve worked in it now for three years. I love it when I know that someone’s actually enjoying what I’ve made for them.”
Gaining specialised preparation and cooking skills required students to learn hands-on.
Chef Sales Manager Mark said: “I think in the industry at the moment, chefs want skills. It was great that the students attacked the challenge with confidence and a great attitude. They should be taking this attitude through to the workplace as well.”
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