Reading students cook up a storm at Royal Ascot

Students from Reading College and University Centre got a taste for their future careers by doing work experience at Royal Ascot.

Professional Culinary Arts Level 2 student Emily Griffin prepares a starter at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is an annual flat racing meeting, which this year took place from 18-23 June.

Professional Culinary Arts students studying at Levels 2 and 3 secured work experience with 1711 by Ascot. 1711 by Ascot is a partnership between Royal Ascot and hospitality company Sodexo, delivering outstanding hospitality, fine dining and on-site catering experiences.

The students were spread across a range of kitchens, preparing a variety of fine-dining experiences for the guests at Royal Ascot, from afternoon tea to lunches.

Some of them worked with the Head Chef of Manchester United Football Club who runs the developments and fine dining experiences, who came down to prepare and cook dishes for Royal Ascot.

Leanne Santos, 18, from Bicester, is studying a Professional Culinary Arts Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma at Reading College and University Centre.

She said: “It’s been a great journey to meet other chefs that work in different kitchens and work in different kitchens. I’ve been doing the hot buffets and afternoon teas that go out to the restaurant.

“The chefs here have been experienced in the trade for many years and they’ve taught us different techniques and skills that they’ve passed down to us. Everyone gets put in different kitchens, so we cover a lot of different things. It’s been a great experience for me.”

Professional Culinary Arts Level 3 student Calum O'Grady prepares a Chicken dish at Royal Ascot

Hayden Rushby, Hospitality Lecturer at Activate Learning, said: “It was great to see both new and previous learners doing work experience at Royal Ascot this year. This year was harder as there was only a limited amount of number of work experience placements available. However, all the students who were selected were excellent.

“We received great feedback from all the chefs, and it was great to see them all in action and working in such a high paced and actioned environment with an extra touch of class to finishing all the food going out.

“I am very proud of all the learners that attended, and they should all be proud of themselves as well, enjoying the great experience Royal Ascot has to offer. I am looking forward to future groups of students going and growing their skills in such a prestigious event.”

Professional Culinary Arts Level 2 student Liam Madigan makes the final touches to Panna Cotta desserts at Royal Ascot

Lorenzo Francioli, Lead Area Chef for the Furlong Club, Gallery and Lawn Club at Royal Ascot, said: “Some of the students who worked with us did so both this year and last year. The students who worked with us previously have been really good and have been a great attribute to the team. They’ve brought their skills and a real hunger to learn.

“The new students have been great and have got really stuck in. They’ve enjoyed whatever’s been happening around them. No task is ever too small and if they’re not sure, they’ll ask questions, and they try to learn from what’s happening around them.

“They work well with the other chefs that are working in this restaurant and other restaurants. There’s a real great camaraderie and feeling for everybody. Everybody appreciates the help that they are bringing to the site.”

Discover our Hospitality and Professional Cookery programmes available at Reading College and University Centre or contact us on 0800 612 6008.