Food producers and sponsors joined proud families to mark the end of the second cohort of Michael Caines Academy students at Exeter College with a celebratory banquet reflecting the standard of the many prestigious establishments the students have experienced during their two year programme in the Academy.
And for the first time the talented chefs and front of house students were on the receiving end of world class hospitality as the younger first year Academy students were put through their paces in the training kitchen during the day with the Academy's founder and mentor – Michael Caines MBE - one of the College's famous alumni.
The Academy, set up in 2011, nurtures the region's future generation of talented restaurateurs, chefs, restaurant managers, waiters and front of house staff. The celebration event, at the college's @34 restaurant, also honoured the essential contribution of the many food producers and partners who make the Academy unique. Together with sponsors City and Guilds, 3663, Robert Welch, Paramount Personnel and Intoto Kitchens these producers ensure students access a diverse timetable of culinary activities from foraging to fine dining as well as honing their skills through workshops and masterclasses.
"The Academy offers a fantastic opportunity for young people who can demonstrate a real passion for the industry and the ambition to excel," said Michael Caines addressing the 60 guests at the four course banquet. "Our aim is to drive and inspire these students to achieve the highest level of excellence and to raise the profile of all aspects of the hospitality industry. They have been challenged throughout their time at the college and I'm very proud of their continued ambition, they are shining examples and are now ambassadors not just for the Academy and the college but also for this important sector."
Lydia Uglow joined the celebration event after her six weeks placement at the prestigious Ritz Hotel, London "My first impression was wow! It's always busy and and I have learnt so much so far and I know I will take a lot away with me from this experience. This standard is something I will aspire to be like in the future."
"I am delighted to welcome everyone to this special event in which we celebrate our graduating MC Academy students" said Richard Atkins, Principal, "The new hospitality and catering building, originally opened in 2008, gave a new ambition and energy to this area of the college and the MC Academy and our recent enhanced skills kitchen has continued this success. Other colleges have academies with celebrity chefs but we are proud of the commitment and dedicated support Michael gives to the students, the Academy and the college as a whole through his additional work as Governor."
Whilst the 14 second year students discussed their future work and training plans, the first year Academy students delivered the mouthwatering VIP menu of chicken terrine, crab ravioli, Dartmoor Lamb and raspberry mousse to the appreciative guests.