Cooking up a storm at Royal Ascot

Student chefs are betting on a winning future after spending a week cooking for racegoers at the prestigious Royal Ascot race meeting.

The group, a mix of Level 1 and Level 3 catering students, spent a week away from home, cooking under pressure alongside their teachers in the hot, busy kitchens of the Pavilion Restaurant to serve lunch and afternoon tea to hundreds of racegoers.

The opportunity, provided by catering company Sodexo, came about after the Head Chef and HR Manager visited CRC to introduce and help prepare the learners for the challenge. Picked at random, the 9 available places filled quickly, and the lucky volunteers spent a week at Royal Ascot learning new skills while gaining invaluable professional experience. 

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CRC chefs in the Pavillion kitchen

CRC Catering Lecturer, Anthony Dunball said, “We catered for approximately 900 meals each day, serving a high-end three course lunch and afternoon tea. The mixture of professionals from Sodexo and our learners was a brilliant blend. There was so much learning taking place with a clear demonstration of hard work, devotion, and resilience from the team.

For all of us, myself included, this was a learning curve beyond all others. The students should be immensely proud of themselves!” 

The small group of students, some just 17 years old, lived and worked together for a week presenting themselves with professionalism, and consistently working to high standards. The intense environment that left them feeling tired and hot with sore feet, but there was a real sense of determination. 

Sodexo Head Chef, Chris Burrows added, “Cambridge Regional College should be really proud of their learners, they have excelled themselves and should be proud of what they have achieved. It is amazing what happens when you push people outside of their comfort zone.”

The students agreed the week had been challenging, but worth every minute,

“It was the best experience ever. There were ups and downs in the week, but overall it was amazing.”

Level 1 Professional Chef student Magnus McMahon.

“Royal Ascot was a different experience compared to the usual CRC kitchens. I honestly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a challenge and wants to make connections with new people. We got to make relationships with great chefs and Front of House staff.”

Level 1 Professional Chef student Liam Santos.
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Afternoon tea service
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Student chefs cooling down
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Student chefs at the racecourse

As the team reflect on their experience catering for one of the most prestigious race events in the UK, the CRC Culinary Arts tutors are already looking ahead to provide the same unique, once in a lifetime experience for next years students. 

Find out more about Culinary Arts & Hospitality courses at Cambridge Regional College.

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