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Warrington & Vale Royal College students excel and excite in the International Wine & Food Society’s first-ever vegetarian competition

Challenged with creating delicious, colourful and innovative dishes, students from the college and five other colleges from across the north have battled it out in the International Wine & Food Society’s (IWFS) first Vegetarian Chef Competition.

Following a spectacular final cook-off at the college’s award-winning onsite restaurant, Buckley’s, all finalists were welcomed to Bolton College for an exuberant Awards Lunch organised by professional chef consultant and Great British Menu contestant Stephanie Moon, and prepared by the talented students of Bolton College.

For this year’s competition, the IWFS partnered with the Vegetarian Society to invite local young chefs to create a dish with exclusively vegetarian ingredients. The entries were as colourful as they were flavourful, blowing the panel of expert judges away and making it as delicious as it was difficult to choose between the ten finalists’ dishes.

For the second year running, Level 3 Advanced Professional Cookery student Caitlin Clark has excelled and placed second in this prestigious culinary event, demonstrating her refined skills by creating delicate and expertly balanced flavours in an intricate rhubarb tart. Since coming to the college from Penketh High School, Caitlin has spent three years developing her natural talent for cooking into what she hopes will be a perfect foundation for a successful career in the food industry.

Zach Doherty, yet another of the college’s high-flying chefs, also secured his place in the final at Buckley’s by serving a unique beetroot risotto with a tangy radish garnish. Although Zach is only in the second year of his hospitality and catering qualification, he continues to impress and excite both his tutors and industry professionals with his advanced culinary prowess.

Paul Ratcliffe, Chef Tutor & Course Leader in Hospitality & Catering, had nothing but praise following the competition, saying:

“Both Caitlin and Zach are going from strength to strength with their learning, skills and confidence in the kitchen. The standard of entries this year, from the heats right through to the finals, was truly outstanding and I want to say a huge well done to everyone who competed. You should be very proud.”

As well as giving students from across the north the opportunity to showcase their skills and work under the guidance of award-winning chefs, finalists get to enjoy a bespoke VIP dinner to celebrate their achievements, with this year’s highlights including mushroom arancini, potato and leek galette and a chocolate silk pie. It is no wonder that this event is one that our students look forward to every year, and the college thanks the IWFS, the Vegetarian Society, and all the participating students involved for making the competition yet another fantastic and memorable event.

Interested in becoming a culinary expert?

Explore our Hospitality & Catering courses here.