On 14 March, City of Oxford College hosted a poultry masterclass for the Professional Culinary Arts Level 2 students at the city-centre campus, led by Allan McLaughlin, Head Chef at five-star restaurant, Parsonage Grill.
The Parsonage Grill is part of the Oxford Collection, which includes Quod and Gees restaurant.
Emma Dickson, HR representative from The Oxford Collection, said: “There are great opportunities available for professional growth for young chefs working with The Oxford Collection, as we have connections across multiple restaurants.”
This is the second cooking masterclass that has been held at the college on Oxpens Road this year, the first being taught by an executive chef from The Randolph Hotel.
Paul Buckey, Lecturer – Professional Cookery at Activate Learning, hopes to organise more of these sessions throughout the year.
He said: “I believe witnessing chefs at work helps the students to bridge the gap between what they learn in class and the real industry.”
Allan shared his breadth of knowledge with the students. As well as working as Head Chef at the Parsonage Grill for the past four years, he spent a year cooking at the Sydney Opera House, among other impressive experiences.
The students learnt different ways to prepare poultry, and the dishes that you can create with these new cooking techniques. Allan used chicken for the masterclass, and paired it with ingredients such as wild mushrooms, white asparagus and gnocchi.
Harry White, a student who attended the masterclass, reflected on the new techniques he had learnt and how he wants to use them, going forward.
Harry said: “It was fascinating to learn how much preparation goes into each dish, such as brining the chicken. I have never done this before, and I definitely want to try it out.”
Similarly, Edith Collins, another Professional Culinary Arts student, felt that the session allowed her to build on her existing skillset.
She added: “At college, we prepare chicken in a different way, so it was great to learn a new method and a different cut that I can use throughout my course.”
One of our students had an interesting link to the masterclass. Freya Barresi is currently working part-time at the Parsonage Grill, alongside Allan and the other chefs.
Freya, who works in the pastry section of the restaurant, prepared several pie crusts in advance, which Allan then used to demonstrate the Parsonage Grill’s signature chicken pie recipe. Afterward, the students were able to sample the dishes produced by Allan.
Edith said: “The thing that I enjoyed most about today was trying the food after Allan cooked it. It was great to experience both sides of the process and see what kind of flavours the ingredients and cooking techniques produced.”
While Harry confidently told us about his ambition to become a chef, both Edith and Freya expressed that they are interested in many different areas within the culinary arts industry and that masterclasses such as these are helpful for them to learn about different career paths within the culinary world.
Discover more about the courses we offer on our Hospitality and Professional Cookery pathway or contact us via 0800 612 6008.