Washington’s Holiday Inn was taken over by six catering students who showed off their cooking prowess and created their own three-course menu for diners on Sunday.
The budding chefs were split into two groups and, with the help of the hotel’s head chef Mariusz Urbanczyk, battled it out to see who would be crowned takeover champions.
Customers could choose from a broad range of delectable dishes and the most popular item selected by diners decided the winning menu.
Although the competition was very close, the team named overall winner was made up of Eleanor Wilson, Morgan Brickle and Connor Mills.
Thanks to the efforts of the six students, more than £160 was raised for the Holiday Inn’s chosen charities, Grace House and Greenfingers.
Rob Stewart, Sunderland College’s curriculum leader for hospitality, tourism and engagement, said: “We were really pleased to help support local charities and give the learners an opportunity to see inside a different type of kitchen to any they’d seen or worked in before. They all put in a lot of effort to prepare for the event and so hearing such positive feedback from the diners made it all worthwhile.”
Last September, all catering students were moved to the college’s multi-million pound City Campus which houses state-of-the-art equipment and learning spaces, including a bakery, two learning kitchens, a training kitchen and the newly-opened commercial restaurant, City Bistro.
Rob added: “With the amazing facilities our ambitious students are used to cooking in day in day out, they are gaining the knowledge and skills they need to become top chefs. We encourage them to do as many work placements as they can in restaurants while they are studying with us, and along with the experience they gain in City Bistro, which is fast becoming one of the most popular restaurants in the city, they are getting a great head start in the industry.”
Paul Mandeir, the Holiday Inn Washington’s general manager, said: “I am delighted with the way the day went for the students. It is clear from the delivery of service that the students will excel in the hospitality trade. All of the guests who attended enjoyed the food and left delighted with the event.”
The takeover was arranged with the help of Reed NCFE, which joined forces with Sunderland College in 2014 to create a job zone offering high quality work experience opportunities and careers guidance.