Back in June, the Catering and Hospitality department at Harrogate College was approached by the British Potato Industry and invited to take part in an exciting competition.
The competition offered students on the Level 2 Professional Cookery course, the fantastic and daunting opportunity to have their dish cooked for up to 900 people at a dinner held at the Harrogate International Centre in November.
There were many criteria that the students had to adhere to, the main one being that the humble potato was the star of the dish. The students set to work immediately on researching and developing recipes that could be a potential winner.
The British Potato Industry have an expanding educational strategy to get young people cooking with and eating more potatoes, so they challenged Harrogate College catering students to come up with a main course that shows off the versatility of the potato.
“We were delighted to be asked to take part in this exciting competition. The students worked hard to produce well thought out potato based meals, that met strict criteria for a busy dinner service, including cost, delivery and quality.”
“The students are incredibly excited to put their skills to good use and experience the thrill of catering for a huge event, making competitions such as this, a fantastic experience.” – Rosie South, Hospitality tutor.
After creating a recipe, the students cooked their chosen dishes for a group of judges in the Harrogate College Metro Restaurant that included Principal Debra Forsythe-Conroy and Nick White, head of marketing for AHBD Potatoes.
A vast array of skills and techniques were used by the students to come up with some excellent dishes.
A tense hour of difficult decision making and potato tasting followed, but the winning dish was decided upon. British Bubble ‘n’ Squeak with Crispy Belly Pork and a Red Wine Jus, by Frazer Coulby.
“Frazer’s dish was not only visually stunning, but the combination of classic flavours made it a stand out winner.” – Nick White, head of marketing for AHDB Potatoes.
Frazer chose to create Bubble ‘n’ Squeak for the main course, as it’s a British classic that he is extremely fond of. It fulfils the brief well as the potato takes centre stage and allows for a combination of different textures within the dish. Having done his research online and using traditional cookery books, Frazer knew he was onto a winner.
“Who doesn’t like Bubble ‘n’ Squeak?” – Frazer Coulby.
“The Learning Support team have really helped me to pass my qualifications successfully. I’m extremely pleased and excited to see my dish come to life at the dinner so I’m grateful for the opportunity.” – Frazer Coulby.
Hilary Grovners from the Learning Support team is thrilled for Frazer.
“The ALS staff who support Frazer are all really pleased as he has made such great progress here at Harrogate College. His skills base has broadened enormously and we will look forward to tasting his dish!”
Frazer was invited down to the Harrogate International Centre kitchens to meet the Head Chef Phil, Sous Chef Scott and General Manager of KUDOS, Simon, and to watch his dish being conjured up, in the kitchens he will be cooking in.
British Bubble ‘n’ Squeak was brought to life within the allocated six movements, carefully thought out by Frazer.
Everyone got stuck in to taste the meal and compliments flew around the kitchen. Frazer was keen to find out more about the way the chefs had chosen to cook and plate up the dish.
“I love the height created by the Bubble ‘n’ Squeak tower and the carrots are fantastic. I’m absolutely over the moon.” – Frazer Coubly.
All participating students also get the opportunity to work behind the scenes at the event, to help prepare the winning dish in the HIC kitchens, providing valuable hands on experience which can go towards their qualification.
Frazer has also won a meal for two at Harrogate’s new burger restaurant, Burgers & More, which was kindly donated by the owner Ian.
Over the past year, Frazer has enhanced his passion for cooking by learning a wide variety of skills and techniques that he uses in the kitchen, daily. When the opportunity to enter the British Potato competition arose, Frazer jumped at the chance to draw from his growing repertoire of knowledge and experience, to come up with a winning dish.
Frazer grew up wanting to become a chef and serve homemade food to hungry customers, and in 2014 he took the plunge and enrolled Harrogate College. He is now looking to the future, as he sees himself one day, opening his own fine dining restaurant serving a wealth of international cuisine. Frazer knows that by continuing to expand on the skills he has already picked up, he is well on the way to achieving his dream.