Students in Bournemouth Set the Bar High

Friday 25th January saw sudents from Bournemouth & Poole and Highbury Colleges kick off the Major Series 2019 and they certainly set the bar high
With the final of last year’s Major Series having just taken place, it was straight into the new regional heats for students in Bournemouth and with over fifty young chefs from Bournemouth & Poole and visiting Highbury College turning up to compete on Friday 25th January, it was a packed schedule in the kitchens.
The day got off to an excellent start with the Chicken, Street Food and Pasta Challenges. We saw a wide selection of dishes coming out of the live kitchens as the day went on, each showing the students’ unique takes on the class briefs and it was clear from their entries that they had a good understanding of the Major products and had really taken the time to experiment with them. Speaking at the end of the day, the 2018 winner of the Major Series, Adam Marki-Fejes, who had been judging the Chicken Challenge, said, “I thought the standard today was very good. I think Bournemouth & Poole and Highbury always work to a high standard and I really enjoyed judging today.”
Although the majority this year’s classes are tried and tested, we have listened to feedback from the colleges and introduced a brand new Live Skills class that tests the students’ live plating techniques and use of flavour in pre-prepared mousse desserts. Wayne Harris, Chairman of the Judges for the Craft Guild of Chefs, was blown away by the standard and is excited to see what the students come up with in the other regional heats. “The new class was well received by students and lecturers alike. The enthusiasm shown by the competitors was first class and they came up with some great dessert ideas using the Major Fruit Bases.”
Whilst the live heats continued in the kitchens, a colourful display of static entries were appearing on the tables in the restaurant, including a mouth-watering line of freshly baked breads, beautifully decorated gateaux and skilfully put together plated mains. All of these made hard work for the judges who deliberated for a long time over the results due to the high standard of entries. Whilst we waited, we caught up with Major Business Development Manager and Development Chef Matt Owens to see how he’d found his first Major Series judging experience. “It was great to be here judging today. I was really impressed by the students’ confidence and attitude towards the competition considering the level they’re at and I thought they were all really professional.”
Finally it was time for the results. As each student went up to collect their awards, they were supported by rapturous applause from their lecturers and fellow students and as always, there was a real sense of encouragement for each and every one of them. However, it was John Joco from Bournemouth & Poole College who took away a gold medal and place in the final for his Pan-roasted Chicken Breast with Honey, Lemon & Mustard Mash, Heritage Carrots and Major Veal Jus. A first time competitor, he was delighted to have overcome his nerves in order to compete and is looking forward to competing again at Hotelympia in 2020. 
List of winners:

Major Chicken Challenge: John Joco, Bournemouth & Poole College
Major Chicken Challenge Runner Up: Ayesha Khan, Highbury College
Major Street Food Challenge: Isabelle Ward Giles, Bournemouth & Poole College
Major Pasta Challenge: Callum Vears, Bournemouth & Poole College
Major Live Skills: Harriet Morgan, Bournemouth & Poole College
Best Overall Static: Brendon Peatman, Bournemouth & Poole College, Plated Main
Key Dates:

Friday 8th February – Major Series South Devon
Tuesday 26th – Thursday 28th February – Welsh Culinary Championships
Tuesday 19th March – Major Series Hartlepool
NEW Date: Wednesday 22nd May - Major Series Loughborough
TBC – Major Series Scotland

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