The Level 3 learners, who study at the College's Ashington
campus, are part of the first cohort of learners to take advantage
of this unique partnership and have been regularly visiting the
College's Kirkley Hall campus, which incorporates a farm, Victorian
walled gardens and greenhouses to broaden their knowledge of how
foods they cook is produced.
Students have been involved in all aspects of lambing production
this year, taking part in sheep anatomy masterclasses with the
farm's two main breeds of sheep, Texel's and Suffolk's, to
identify fat content by feeling lamb 'hot spots', located on ribs,
loin and dock.
After selecting four lambs from the flock, the team attended a
butchery masterclass with Simon Osborne, head butcher at the
Blagdon Farm Shop where students learned about all cuts of
Andrew Williamson, Agriculture lecturer and farmer at the
College's Kirkley Hall campus said: "It has been a pleasure to be
part of this first farm to fork initiative and I hope this is the
start of a fantastic partnership."
Hospitality and Catering Course Leader, David Jackson, said:
"Facilities at the college's Kirkley Hall campus give us a unique
opportunity to teach our students about food origins. Working in
collaboration with the farm and horticulture department, we can
offer this farm to fork ethos which is fantastic. No other catering
students in the region have that opportunity."
The first part of the partnership began in September, when
hospitality students collaborated with the College's horticulture
department meaning fresh, local seasonal produce is now used in a
range of the restaurant dishes.
Produce grown includes apples, which were made into chutney and
sold in the College's food outlets, pumpkins and squashes for use
in soup and tomatoes, baby aubergines, runner beans and leeks.
David added: "This project has been fantastic experience for our
learners, seeing exactly where the food we prepare and eat comes
from and the process which is included, by working with
Northumberland based experienced farmers, butchers and chefs."
The final a-la-carte five course-tasting menu, put together with
support from Pleased to Meet You Head Chef, David Kennedy, was
served in the College's fine dining 40-seater restaurant, The
Gallery last week.
The menu included Northumbrian Lamb Broth, Smoked Lamb Belly and
Lamb Scrumpet and was enjoyed by members of the public as well as
special guest's from the Kirkley Hall farm team.
Head Chef, David Kennedy, who has been working with
Northumberland College students to develop their industry skills
and knowledge throughout the process, said: "It has been great to
get involved with what the hospitality, horticulture and farming
teams are trying to achieve at Northumberland College.
"It is vital students on Hospitality courses are educated in a
rounded way which gives exposure to all elements of the industry.
These young people are the future of our industry and it's crucial
we support their development in any way we can."
Andrew Williamson added: "Chefs and consumers drive farmers and
the demand for certain types of products has recently changed, with
the need for much leaner meat so it's very important and great
learning experience for hospitality students to see where their
meat comes from and the hard work which is put in to ensure the
finest quality. It was fantastic to see and taste our lambs being
used to such a high standard of cooking."
The team are now preparing for the North East Culinary and Trade
Association (NECTA) competition which takes place at Gateshead
Hilton Hotel on 5 May and will include a mixture of competitions,
live classes, displays and exhibits.
Last year, Northumberland College were crowned the NECTA
Champions for the first time in the College's history after
securing five gold, four silver and 12 bronze medals as well as
three trophies, two cups and the overall competition winners
The Gallery restaurant opened in 2015 and since, has developed a
programme of work experience for hospitality students that includes
visits by leading guest chefs.
The British hospitality industry, incorporating restaurants and
food service management, employs 10% of the national workforce with
100,000 new jobs forecast by 2020 and in September, Northumberland
College became one of the first college's to introduce Technical
Qualifications to meet that demand.
The UK's booming leisure sector sees career opportunities for
those within hospitality include commis chef, head chef, waiting
staff and restaurant manager.
The Gallery restaurant offers evening sittings twice a week, as
well as a full lunch menu on weekdays, afternoon tea and a
Restaurant enquires and bookings can be made by emailing email@example.com.
To find out more about courses in hospitality and catering
please visit www.northumberland.ac.uk