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An evening of Italian delights as students graduate

Posted: 27 May 2022

Students at West Nottinghamshire College served-up delights of the Mediterranean this week at their final graduation dinner.

For chefs Aleks Michevski, Reus Jackson, Sophie Ward and Joe White, the end of the academic year meant producing the best of Italian cuisine for diners at the college’s Refined restaurant. Guests included family and friends, following the completion of the students’ Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Professional Cookery.

The menu this Thursday (26 May) included starters of pan-fried sea bass with rosemary potatoes, fennel, sundried tomatoes and balsamic glaze, a beef carpaccio with pickled vegetables and spicy garlic cream as well as a vegetarian option of thyme and lemon gnocchi with mushroom and basil sauce.

Main dishes were ravioli stuffed with sausage and ricotta in garlic and mushroom tomato ragu, crispy skin salmon and pea risotto, and asparagus with a three-cheese vegetarian lasagne with salad.

To complete the gastronomic feast, diners enjoyed panettoni with macerated plums and thyme, tiramisu, or lemon curd cheesecake.

Aleks, 20, who has spent four years at West Notts, works Santino’s Italian restaurant in Ravenshead. His future dream job is to be a self-employed chef, while Joe, 18, currently works in the kitchens at Mansfield Rugby Club and favours cooking with pastry.

Sophie, 20, who spent a very busy week working in the kitchens at Thoresby Hall Hotel during the curriculum’s recent ‘hotel takeover’, particularly enjoys cooking fish and hopes to do more of the same.

Reus, 17, works at Fables Coffee House in Edwinstowe and in the kitchens at Thoresby Hall Hotel. His new role at the hotel emerged after a phone call from the head chef who was impressed with his talents during hotel takeover. Reus enjoys cooking Norwegian food like fish and game and would like to move to Leeds to concentrate on this area of cooking, then eventually move to Norway.

The chefs were ably supported throughout the evening by the team of Level 3 Advanced Diploma Hospitality Supervision and Leadership students who were on-hand to welcome and serve diners as well as provide home-made cocktails and mocktails to accompany the evening meals.

This team of students, who have learnt front of house skills as well as bar-tending and restaurant supervision, were each tasked to create a signature cocktail which reflected their character, and were served in the restaurant’s bar.

Kai Blandy, 19, chose to create an Amarula coffee cocktail with an espresso shot and vodka. Amarula is a ginger and vanilla cream liqueur from South Africa made with sugar, cream and the fruit of the African marula tree. He chose this as he originates from South Africa.

Kyle Mason, 18, created a sweet bubblegum cocktail gin and Malibu, saying: “I love all things sweet so this is a good representation of me!” He also loves to draw with bright colours, which were represented in the shades of pink gin and candy floss.

Harry Rayment, 21, who is known for creating strong drinks, provided diners with a ‘two-shot’ beverage consisting of vodka and whisky on ice and garnished with orange peel. He described his drink as “neat but strong” – just like Harry.

Meanwhile Clara Betts, 19, brought a taste of sweet and sour to the bar. Describing her kiwi and elderflower mojito, with white rum, sugar, soda lime and mint as “a breath of fresh air but firey too” – just like her character.

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