Catering Students Continue to Excel - Bridgwater & Taunton College

The lockdown hasn’t stopped Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) students from continuing their studies, achieving outstanding results and entering competitions.

Most recently, Graciela Baltazar who is studying Level 2 Technical Certificate in Professional Cookery and previously attended Castle School, created and submitted dishes for two competitions and is successfully through to the final of Zest Quest Asia. For the final, Graciela must supply costings and prepare two Asian-inspired dishes during a livestreamed cook-off from the College kitchens.

Graciela commented,

While preparing for competitions, my tutors are always here to support me, especially when I have garnish ideas to complete the dish. They’re happy to give me one-to-one time which shows they care about me.

Course Leader Becky Tomlinson said,

Graciela is constantly striving to develop her skills and spends much of her own time researching techniques from chefs around the globe. I’m very proud of her and wish her lots of luck in the final.

Adjusting to blended and online teaching provided opportunities to be more creative. We set ‘have a go at home’ challenges that included recipes as well as silly tasks such as making a chicken out of a tea towel or paper glasses. These helped keep us focused and build friendships. All our students have shown incredible resilience, perseverance and commitment during the lockdown, but we are eager to get back into our fabulous kitchens and restaurant.

Catering lessons have been a combination of demonstrations and students cooking in their own kitchens, mirroring their tutors online. Each week, a guest chef and speaker also enriched their learning and inspired with their enthusiasm. Marc Hardiman from the acclaimed Galvin@Windows, Mario Perera, the Head Chef of the Dorchester Hotel and Kris from the Burnt Chef Project worked with students and discussed pertinent topics such as how to support positive mental health within hospitality.

During half term, the teaching team surprised students by delivering a box of ingredients to their homes. Not only was it a lovely opportunity to see each other, but the challenge was to create a dish using pastry and frangipane, both of which are course requirements. Once baked, the students sent photographs of the delicious results before they could be enjoyed by friends and family.

With students returning to College, the Quantock Restaurant at the Taunton campus will be open for take-away orders on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, starting from 12 March. Choose from a selection of picnic boxes which can now be enjoyed on a park bench with a friend, or a range of beautifully baked breads. Alternatively, treat yourself to a main and dessert from the ‘heat at home’ range.

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