Learners from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London visited one of London’s most stylish and luxurious hotels, The Dorchester, (18 January) in January as part of their catering studies.

Situated in Mayfair’s Park Lane, not only were the group able to experience the Dorchester’s glitz and glamour first hand, they also tried the five star cuisine and talked  directly to the Head chef, as well as kitchen and hotel staff to find out about careers in catering.

Fascinated by life in the hotel kitchens, the seven lucky learners toured the kitchens and interviewed each of the specialist staff.

Deniz Tasiren asked what had been Chef’s, Prashant Kilkarni’s, worst kitchen disaster. Chef explained that just a few hours before a banquet was due to begin they realised they had accidentally steamed 400 ducks rather than smoking them as intended. “Finding 400 ducks at short notice was a tall order,” said Chef “but fortunately the kitchens in neighbouring hotels rallied round to help us and we succeeded in making the dish just in time.”

Gulizer Sitki asked which dish chef found hardest to cook. Chef explained that Beef Wellington is a difficult one to master, since it involves baking the beef in pastry and must be cooked to very precise temperatures.

Alan Michael asked how long it takes to become a sous chef and an executive chef. He found out that at the Dorchester it takes around ten years to train as a sous chef and fifteen to train as an executive chef.

Impressed by their visit and the kindness of the Dorchester’s staff, the seven learners returned to College even more motivated to try out recipes from around the world.

Joel Bramble said: “The chefs cook Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Cantonese, Swedish, Japanese and Indian food. They can make several dishes in just half an hour.”

The learners who visited the Dorchester were from the Pathway to Employment Year 1: Investigating Catering, which is an option for supported learners.

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