5 May 2017

Loughborough College is in line for a Grand Prize trip to Italy after a live online announcement named three students as finalists for UK Young Restaurant Team of the Year.

Emily Bucknall, Sian Dixon and Zac Gudger will join four other teams from across the country to battle for the prestigious 2017 competition title with the winning team and their mentor set to travel to Modena for the MSK-sponsored international study trip – which includes dinner and an exclusive behind the scenes kitchen tour at Osteria Francescana, the Number One Restaurant in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.

After a tense overnight wait following the competition semi-finals Andrew Bennett MBE, formerly Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director at London’s Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, revealed the chef trio’s success.

The Grand Final is set to take place at the 20th Anniversary Skills for Chefs conference which this year features an audience with Tom Kerridge, dinner with Cyrus Todiwala CBE, TV chef Joe Hurd hosting and Italian chef Francesco Mazzei as guest judge.

The semi-final saw Emily, Sian and Zac challenged to create a three-course Italian-themed menu featuring parmesan, balsamic vinegar, Kassa Lukka chocolate and Koppert Cress, to select a starter and main course wine and to create both a pre-arrival cocktail and a speciality coffee to finish the meal.

The Loughborough College team produced a starter of Sundried Tomato, Spinach and Monkfish Ravioli with a prawn bisque and parmesan crisp, followed by Valdarno Chicken, smoked potatoes, fennel, beans, roast shallot petals, potato onion cream sauce and balsamic perlage and a dessert of Chocolate Truffle Hazelnut and marquise, raspberry jelly and hazelnut praline crumb.

Darren Creed, Hospitality lead at Loughborough College said:

“With only two and a half hours to prepare three courses before going straight into a one and a half hour service for six covers it was a high-pressure environment but Emily and Sian were brilliant as our chefs and Zac was superb front of house,”

“It was a full restaurant with paying customers, who made up four of the six covers – with the other two being judges – and the feedback was outstanding.

“The judges remarked on the exceptional team work and communication between the three students.

“The live announcement was very nerve-wracking – especially as our name appeared later in the list – but it was amazing to hear ‘Loughborough College’.

“They are a great team and have done amazingly well.”

Sian added:

“I was shocked when I heard we were through and Emily burst into tears,”

“We really are very chuffed.

“Emily and I have competed as a team before and we work well with Zac so I am not as nervous as I might have been. We are going to be working really hard to prepare and refine our menu for the final and hopefully we’ll deliver on the big day.”

The Young Restaurant Team of the Year 2017 Grand Final takes place at The Skills for Chefs Conference in Sheffield on 5 and 6 July with the results announced at the Gala Dinner.

Pictured: UK Restaurant Team of the Year 2017 finalists from Loughborough College (left to right) Zac Gudger, Emily Bucknall and Sian Dixon with Darren Creed

For more information contact Elizabeth Udall, Communications Consultant, Loughborough College on 07515 852690 or elizabethudall1@gmail.com

Loughborough College was established in 1909 and has a long and proud standing reputation for providing excellent levels of high quality teaching and training across Leicestershire.

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