Medals on the menu for student chefs at prestigious contest

Budding chefs at Northumberland College with their haul of awards.
Budding chefs at Northumberland College with their haul of awards.

Northumberland College students had the recipe for success in an annual catering competition.

They won seven gold, two silver and four bronze medals at this year’s annual North East Culinary and Trade Competition.

The prestigious competition saw budding chefs from across the North East compete in a range of heats throughout the day, enjoy live demonstrations, exhibits and masterclasses.

Students from the college’s School of Hospitality and Catering scooped gold in categories including knife skills, speciality breads and hot starter heats, silver in vegetarian and flan and bronze in categories including larder fish prep and mille feuille.

Natasha Drummond, 18, was crowned NECTA Future Chef of the Year 2018 by Continental Chef Supplies at the annual NECTA Salon Culinaire after wowing the judges with her dish of a tasting of lamb, spring greens and Jersey royals.

Future Chef competitors were given one hour to create two identical dishes and were mentored by a professional industry chef prior to competing.

Natasha said: “To be crowned Future Chef of the Year is such a surreal feeling and I am so shocked and proud of my achievement. Head chef from Pleased to Meet You, David Kennedy, was my professional mentor and offered fantastic support throughout the process. I couldn’t have done it without the skills I have developed working alongside him and my fantastic tutors.”

David, who mentored Natasha, said: “It is great to be involved with Northumberland College and its vital students on Hospitality courses are educated in a rounded way. These young people are the future of our industry and it’s crucial we support their development in any way we can and it’s been a pleasure to be part of Natasha’s journey.”

The NECTA competition offers an excellent opportunity for all chefs and front-of-house personnel to present their skill and talents in a professional, but friendly environment and to profit from an exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Hospitality and catering course leader, David Jackson, said: “The competition was a great success and we are ecstatic with the results yet again this year and for Natasha. To do so well is an unbelieve achievement for both the students and the college. Bring on NECTA 2019.”

Students at Northumberland College visit and work with some of the finest dining establishments in the North East, including Six at the Baltic, Alnwick Castle and Pleased to Meet You, giving learners the opportunity to learn and work with industry experts.