Saturday 15 November 2008

Culinary Excellence

I was delighted to be invited to a very special lunch on Friday at the City Inn by the Depute Head of Eastbank Academy. The occasion was the culmination of thirteen weeks of hard work by six senior Hospitality students; an opportunity to show off their skills to assembled guests.

This is part of the Council's Culinary Excellence programme, which gives pupils the opportunity to expand on the skills they learn in the classroom and see how they would cope in the world of work. They are supported by their teachers and by staff at the hotel, both in the kitchens and in the front of house duties. At the table I was at, a Chef from another hotel participating in the scheme told us how much the young people get from the experience, and the difference in their attitudes over the course of the once-a-week placement.

The meal was fantastic - salmon tartare to start, lamb for the main course, and tarte tatin for desert. All delicious and impecably presented. I was very impressed by the professionalism of the young women who were doing the serving duties - far better than the service I've experienced from staff in other eateries.

Certificates were presented to the six participants at the end of the meal, with glowing recommendations from City Inn staff. It's important to recognise the contribution made by the hotels - without them, the scheme couldn't happen, and it's great that they feel it's worthwhile. The pupils seem to have gotten a lot out of their experience and, while they might not go on to a career in this area, they certainly all seem to have gained confidence and learned new skills. I wish them all the best!

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