Award Winning Chef Returns to FCoT

Our student were recently given a Masterclass in cooking by award-winning Chef Rob Kennedy.

A former student of the college, Rob is currently the Executive Chef at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, so is more used to cooking for Royals, Senior Dignitaries and World Leaders.

However, he was very impressed with the college’s facilities, particularly our Gallery Restaurant, where students provide silver service and a gourmet menu to the public for a fraction of the cost.

Rob, who lives in Frimley Green, Surrey, says he was on the first Level 2 Cookery NVQ the college had ever run and qualified from the two year course in 1994. He says:

“It was so great to go back and revisit those happy memories. It was also brilliant to meet the students and see them in the position that I was.

“I really wanted to speak to them about the wonderful journey ahead. I told them that being a professional cook won’t all be glamour and gloss but the two things that will carry them through will be humour and passion.

“It was the first time I had been back since I qualified. It was a really positive experience and I really hope I can do it again soon.

“I think the facilities at Farnborough are very good – the kitchen is very organised and spacious. What is excellent though is the Gallery restaurant which is so fundamental to their training to operate in that real world environment.”

Rob was re-introduced to the college after becoming involved with ‘A Passion to Inspire’ – a not for profit organisation founded by Murray Chapman, a member of the Master Chefs of Great Britain. The organisation aims to bring education and industry closer together and gives students, colleges and lecturers an opportunity to meet some of the industry’s top chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers.

The dish created for our students – Smokey Cod & Cauliflower

Rob was inspired to cook after watching his grandmother create family favourites. He says: “From an early age, we used to visit my grandparents on their farm in Cambridge. Because I was too young to do any chores around the farm, I would spend my time at my Nan’s side, watching her cook.

“It gave me such a thrill to see how she would put together raw ingredients and then they would become these perfect dishes.

“She never used to weigh anything out – it was always a handful of this, a pinch of that. I thought it was amazing!

“My Nan has inspired me to write a book based on her way of cooking called ‘A cup, a spoon and a handful’ which I hope to bring out next year. I hope it will be a little bit of her old-style of cooking made modern.”

Ever busy though, Rob has just returned from Erfurt in Germany, where he coached a team of young English apprentice chefs taking part in the Culinary Olympics at the end of October. The junior team did him proud – they won Silver in the edible buffet category and Bronze in the Restaurant of Nations heat.

The Culinary Olympics involves 54 national teams from all five continents competing in various heats to demonstrate their epicurean mastery.

Rob himself has competed in the Olympics’ Master Chef Heats previously, bringing home both Gold and Silver medals. These accolades are part of a long line of 85 culinary awards Rob has achieved in the last ten years.

He describes cooking for the Queen as the pinnacle of his career but insists: “It’s such a great honour to cook for Her Majesty but I just love cooking for everybody,” he says. “It doesn’t actually matter who you are cooking for, as long as you do it with passion.”

The recipe for the Smokey Cod and Cauliflower dish that Rob Kennedy created for our students is available on his website.

Find out more about our Food, Beverage and Cookery courses here.

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