Sodexo were on hand to support the talented chefs of the future at Perth College UHI as they served up a “Spring Time Awakening” dinner to invited VIPs and industry heads including Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who described the five-course dinner as “exquisite”.

This event marked the culmination of a unique Craft Skills Week mentored by Sodexo’s executive chef David Ward and supported by TV's Creme de la Creme winner and patisserie expert Helen Vaas and Sodexo Chef of the Year finalist Nikola Plhakova. Sodexo’s hospitality team from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh provided students an insight into a range of industry skills with demonstrations on cocktail making, drinks service as well as supporting the dinner service.

More than 60 Food Studies and Hospitality students at the college had the opportunity to develop their skills through master classes and supplier demonstrations including game preparation and chocolate work.

Perth College UHI Sector Manager for Food Studies and Hospitality, Ian Gibb, explained; ‘The students were learning what the world of work will be like at the hands of the best in the business and seeing that there is nothing to fear from skills such chocolate work. Once they have learned the techniques, their only limitation is their own imagination and ambition.”

 “Perth College UHI has benefitted greatly from the support of industry leaders Sodexo and this unique training week and showcase dinner shows what can be achieved to help prepare the students for life in what is a very hard and demanding industry.”

Jonathan Keitch, account director with Sodexo, who provide services for the hospitality and catering at Perth College UHI campus, said a huge part of their support is to help with curriculum development and provide learning opportunities and internships for the students.

“We help to shape the raw student material into the future leaders of the industry,” said Jonathan. “By building our partnership with the college we look at ways to enhance and add value to the student experience and this week has achieved that."

“I’m extremely proud of what they’ve achieved and of the outstanding showcase dinner they delivered,” he added.  “There is a shortage of talented people coming into the hospitality sector but this event helps make college students more industry ready and gives everyone encouragement that the future should be in good hands if we continue to work together in partnership.”

Executive chef David Ward said, “We started the week with a group of students in a classroom and ended it with a team of potential chefs.”

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