College unveils state-of-the-art kitchen

CATERING students at Petroc in Barnstaple are cooking up a greater storm than ever following the �140,000 refurbishment of their training kitchen. With enough sparkle and new equipment to leave the most critical of celebrity chefs tongue tied, the re-desi

CATERING students at Petroc in Barnstaple are cooking up a greater storm than ever following the �140,000 refurbishment of their training kitchen.

With enough sparkle and new equipment to leave the most critical of celebrity chefs tongue tied, the re-designed and refitted kitchen at the former North Devon College is now far more palatable for students studying hospitality and catering.

Thursday's grand opening also saw the formal presentation of the prestigious Toque d'Or trophy, the renowned national culinary competition won earlier this year by a team of students from the college and presented on the night by Martin Webster of Nestle Professional.

The Petroc team - Max Bowen, Karl Partridge, Mike Stern, Tom Turner, Emma Colwill and James Ballantyne - won by showcasing the world class fish and seafood available in North Devon, the theme name being Hook, Line and Devine. Previous college teams have come tantalisingly close in preceding years but just missed out on winning.

It is hoped the new kitchen will inspire more success in the classroom and in competition.

Along with new Charvet cookers - described as the Lamborghini of kitchen equipment - plus a state-of-the-art electric oven, the facility offers some 40 per cent more space than its predecessor.

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It also features an overhead camera enabling lecturers to teach and prepare food while students watch the process on a big screen and follow along instead of attempting to crowd around one table.

Lecturer Tom Lewis said this addition also allowed them to make teaching videos that students could even access from their home computers.

"We did have quite an antiquated facility here and student numbers have constantly increased," he said of the new kitchen.

"We have tried to create something that's not only state-of-the-art, but also a world leader. I think we're now the only catering college in the South West with this standard of equipment, which should give us 20 years or more of use without needing to worry about replacing it.

"And if we should get a new college, everything here can be transported.

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