Catering Students are Visited by Head Chef and Bartending Company

Recently, our Catering and Hospitality students were treated to demonstrations from both Ben Gaddour and Bar Flair Services.

The Head Chef at Pennyhill Park, Ben Gaddour, visited our Catering and Hospitality students for a cooking demonstration. Not only did Ben give a run through of three delicious dishes, he ended the session with a tasting!

Ben Gaddour in the kitchen

At the same time, our students were also visited by Bar Flair Services, based in Winchester, who came in to talk to students about their options after finishing their Catering and Hospitality courses. They also gave students a chance to try their hand at a little flair bar tending at the same time.

Alex showing students how to make a ‘Jam Doughnut’

Students were given a demonstration from bartender, Alex, who showed them how to make three drinks: one alcoholic cockatil –  a Cosmopolitan, and two non-alcoholic cocktails – a No-Jito, and a Jam Doughnut. Once Alex had run through the basics, the students were let loose to create their own No-Jitos and Jam Doughnuts.

“Our aim is to show people that they can make non-alcoholic drinks that taste amazing, as well as alcoholic ones.”

A No-Jito – Apple Juice, Lime, Sugar, Mint and Soda

A Jam Doughnut – Cranberry Cordial and Cream

After showing our students how to prepare three delicious dishes Ben, from Pennyhill Park, said: “Today has been brilliant. I always love coming here and working with the students and the staff, it’s an organisation I cherish. Although this is only my second demo, I did help do the grading last year!

“Food has always been a passion of mine – It’s something I chose to do – to pursue my passion about food, flavours and spices, and come up with new ideas for dishes.”

Ben has been the Head Chef at Pennyhill Park Hotel for six years, and likes to blend European, North African and Middle Eastern influences into his dishes.

Ben’s three dishes looked spectacular:

A roasted coquina squash with aubergine and pepper. Served with a zaatar and tahini dressing.

Salmon in green chermoula sauce with cabanero and carrots

Classic Moroccan chicken tagine with preserved lemons, onion, raisins and fennel

Catering and Hospitality student, Meghan, said “It’s been really interesting and fun. It’s great to see new ways of cooking, and with a variety of spices. The food’s really nice!”

Catering and Hospitality Lecturer, Alex Wilcock, said “It’s always great when we can get a chef in industry in to talk to the students, and I think they loved it – Ben was really informative, and they were all enthusiastic. It gets the students ready for their second year, where they’ll be deciding their own style of cooking, and whether they’ll choose to use lots of spices, like Ben.”

Our students also got to ask Alex, from the Bar Flair Team, a few questions about the industry.

He said “Most flair bartending happens on the beaches, which means it’s a passport to the world. There are so many types of flair, like fire breathing!

“But it’s all about good customer service, and getting people back in the bar – if they come back and know you by name, you’ve done your job.

“Entrance earnings for a bar tender is around £14,ooo plus tips, which is about the same as if you were to start out in the kitchen. If you work in the right place you can get between £40 and £60 in tips every night. Though it’s not all about money – this job is more about the satisfaction you get from those few people who make your night – who keep coming back, and who really enjoy your work.”

Alex and Julia

Catering and Hospitality student, Rebecca, said “Today has opened up a new world to us. We have a good perspective of the industry through our bartending course here, but it was so impressive to see Alex making the drinks like he would in a bar, and I really like the look of bar flair!”

Catering and Hospitality Programme Manager, Gwen Grace said “This has been brilliant. I thought it was a great day for the students, very educational, I think they all learned a lot. Thank you to Alex and Julia who were amazing with the students.”

If you’d like to learn more about our Catering and Hospitality courses, you can find out more here.