Two Darlington College VRQ level 1 students battled it out in a head-to-head cook-off in an attempt to bid for a place at the Longueau European Town Twinning Event due to take place in Amiens, France.
Reece Smith and James Marshall, two students worthy of the opportunity, each sacrificed their own free time during the college’s Easter break in preparation for the blind taste test. Both students gained real life experience in kitchens in Darlington, with James working at The Keys restaurant under the capable guidance of 1 Star Michelin chef Paul Parkhill and Reece, under the guidance of ex military chef Paul Graham head chef of the Mercure Darlington Kings Hotel.
The pair, both VRQ level 1 students, each presented a single dish to an esteemed panel of judges headed up by Mr Tom Nutt, Chairman of the Twinning Committee, to decide who deserved the opportunity to travel to France.
On the night James had the favour of three out of four judges with his pan fried sea bass with crab claw chowder, mussels and white wine reduction sauce.
And an equally high quality dish served by Reece of Pan fried duck, blueberry compote, parmentier potatoes and parmentier glazed carrot served with a red wine reduction.
In summing up Tom Nutt praised the efforts of both students for two excellent well-presented plates of food and of Lee Coutts programme leader for the VRQ Level 1 Professional Cookery course at Darlington College for developing such a high calibre of student so early in their learning journey.
But in a surprise turn of events, the panel could not decide and both were given a chance to attend the two-day event, as a reward for their hard work and dedication throughout their studies.
The event will take place on the 9th and 10th of May. A number of towns throughout the Longeau town-twinning network will send some of their best craftspeople and cooks, who will be joined by their counterparts from the region of Picardy.
The free event offers a fantastic opportunity for the students and visitors to discover a diverse range of music, entertainment by a variety of performers, the chance to meet talented artisans, and experience a variety of culinary specialities.
For more information on our Hospitality and Catering courses, including the Level 1 Professional Cookery course, visit the subject area Hospitality and Catering