Pupils serve up a culinary treat

Nigel Smith Chef Patron at The Villa, Wrea Green, Claie Lara winner of Master Chef the Professionals and student chefs from Saint Aidan's CE Technology College, Preesall
Nigel Smith Chef Patron at The Villa, Wrea Green, Claie Lara winner of Master Chef the Professionals and student chefs from Saint Aidan's CE Technology College, Preesall

PUPILS from a Wyre high school cooked up something special at one of the Fylde coast’s top restaurants.

The youngsters from St Aidan’s Church of England Technology College , Preesall, were offered a unique culinary opportunity by The Villa at Wrea Green.

Top Chef, Nigel Smith, invited 25 Year 11 students, who are studying Hospitality and Catering at GCSE, to run the restaurant, cooking and serving a three course dinner for the guests.

Working under the watchful eye of Nigel Smith would certainly have been daunting for the 16 year olds, but the biggest test was to have Claire Lara, the first woman to win Master Chef – the Professionals, as one of the specially invited guests, eating their food!

Other guests included Ranvir Singh, presenter of BBC’s North West Tonight, parents, staff and governers.

The menu, ambitious by any professional standards, started with Goats’ Cheese Tartlets with a shallot and fennel confit followed Breast of Chicken stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and basil.

Dessert took the form of Vanilla Parfait.

To complete the evening, the diverse talent of the school, which includes pupils from Fleetwood, was further demonstrated by musical items performed by St Aidan’s students.

A school spokeswoman said: “The students are an ambitious enthusiastic group all studying for their GCSE in Hospitality and Catering.

“Their commitment has seen several of them take part in Young Chef competitions.”

Nigel Smith became involved with the school, sharing his skill

and expertise, in Spring 2010, when he was still based at Ribby Hall.

He supported and mentored two GCSE students who were in the Final of the LEBP Young Chef of the

Year Competition, and after moving to The Villa at Wrea Green last year, he invited the school’s

Young Chef Club along to a workshop with his head chef, who taught the students valuable skills in fish cookery.

Last year, St Aidan’s students took the top three places in the Blackpool and Fylde Young Chef Competition.

The evening at The Villa was an integral part of their GCSE course where they are required to organise and cater for an event.

To be able to undertake this in a top professional kitchen was a dream come true for these youngsters.

Following a long day of preparation in the kitchen, the evening was a fabulous success, with guests praising the youngsters’ food and their service with a smile!