The Hospitality and Catering Department in South West College (SWC) cooked and served up a stunning performance at the recent Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) Competition hosted by Southern Regional College (SRC), Newry and sponsored by Bunzl McLaughlin and Dillon Bass.
This prestigious hospitality competition is designed to find the outstanding chef and food service students across the Northern Ireland Regional Colleges. South West College students triumphed with Kieran Martin scooping the coveted title of ‘Student Chef of the Year’ and Zsolt Molnar scooped the title of ‘Student Food Service of the Year’. Runner-up ‘Student Food Service of the Year’ was Fabio Goncalves and Nicola McKiver, who was crowned ‘Food Service Student of the Year’ in 2017 also competed and was highly commended for ‘Best Dessert of the Day’.
The competition brief was to create and serve a three course meal to an elite panel of industry experts including, Stephen Holland (Executive Chef, Lough Erne Resort), Philip Waring (Development Chef, Rationale), Marco Marro (The Merchant Hotel), Stephen Meldrum (Hastings Slieve Donard Resort and Spa) and Roisin McKee (People First).
Student Chef of the year 2018, Kieran Martin, created and delivered a superb, locally sourced menu of smoked Lough Neagh eel, gallotine of chicken with textures of beetroot followed by pannacotta and rhubarb to finish. He received the highest praise from the judging chefs when they delivered their feedback.
Food Service Person of the Year 2018, Zsolt Molnar was judged not only on his technical skill and customer service, but also on design, creativity and developing a theme at the table. Zsolt’s classmate, Fabio Goncalves, also put on a wonderful display of table theatre, impressing his customers with his menu knowledge and personality.
The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner, hosted by the staff and students at SRC. The awards were presented by the Vice President of the NI Hotels Federation, Stephen Meldrum who commended all the colleges and students on their outstanding performance.
Speaking about the students’ success, Grainne Mulholland, Curriculum Manager of Hospitality and Catering at SWC said:
“We are immensely proud of these young people who not only demonstrated great skill and knowledge, but they also showed passion, professionalism and commitment to excellence. It is wonderful to see their hard work being rewarded in the best possible way and we know exciting careers are ahead for all these students.”