IT was a baptism by fire for Chester catering students at West Cheshire College when they met fiery chef Marco Pierre White to make breakfast for him and 30 guests.
The Godfather of modern cookery was at West Cheshire College’s Ellesmere Port campus on Friday morning (September 23) to officially open its new training kitchens and fine-dining restaurant, called The Dining Room.
The students invited Marco to an informal breakfast to mark the opening of the 38-seater restaurant with guests including the Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Eleanor Johnson.
The day before Marco had invited 10 of the students to his Steakhouse, Bar and Grill – based at Chester’s DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel - to grill him about his passion, career and expertise before sampling the Marco inspired cuisine.
Catering student Ryan Doyle, aged 16 from Dodleston, was lucky enough to sit down with Marco at DoubleTree by Hilton Chester and get some insider knowledge for his own ambition to open a local restaurant for friends and family.
Ryan says: “It was really enjoyable to meet Marco. He’s not how I expected him to be. I expected him to be loud - it’s hard to explain - he was very calm but able to make his presence known. It was amazing just to sit and listen to him talk about his experience.”
Marco says: “For someone in my position, I think the greatest gift you have is to inspire young chefs. All the great chefs I have worked with influenced and inspired me in a different way and fuelled my passion for good locally sourced food.
“The best advice I could give to these young people is that you make sure you work in the right establishment with the best chef. Be respectful, keep your head down and work hard. It is not an easy life but rewarding for those with passion.
“It’s an honour to open the College’s kitchens and restaurant for the students. I hope they take this opportunity, build on their skills and go on to make great food.”
Marco is adamant that great food should be accessible to all - whether that is a trainee chef making it or someone eating it! It is a philosophy that Marco and his long standing friend and local restaurant entrepreneur, Francis Carroll, have successfully brought to the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Chester, with its affordable glamour.
Sam Stevens, Manager for Hospitality and Catering at the College, said: “This was an amazing opportunity for our students to meet one of the country’s leading chefs. Not only did they get the opportunity to find out more about Marco’s experiences and pick up lots of advice, they also had the chance to cook for him as well.
“It was a pleasure to welcome Marco to our College and the fact that he has opened our new restaurant The Dining Room is a great honour for us.”
The Dining Room and its kitchens are part of West Cheshire College’s new 19,500 sq ft state-of-the-art campus off Sutton Way in Ellesmere Port.
The new campus opened its doors to students this month and boasts world-class vocational educational facilities as well as a whole range of new services and amenities open to the public.
The Dining Room will serve fine British cuisine with a modern twist. Its kitchen facilities include a fine dining kitchen with industry standard equipment for à la carte service, a 16-station training kitchen, a separate pastry kitchen where students will make homemade bread and cakes for sale in the College’s catering outlets.
The new Ellesmere Port Campus was built by BAM Construct UK and used over 7,000 tonnes of structural steel. Phase 2 will now follow which will involve the creation of a new art and design wing in the College’s former vocational centre which will open spring 2012.
For further information about studying at West Cheshire College, contact the College hotline 01244 670600 or visit www.west-cheshire.ac.uk.
The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill and the Doubletree by Hilton, Chester, are operated by Sanguine Hospitality Ltd and are located on Warrington Road, Chester CH2 3PD, seconds away from junction 12 of the M53.
For further information, telephone Doubletree by Hilton, Chester on 01244 408 800 or visit www.doubletree.hilton.co.uk/chester.
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