Local catering students turn up the heat at IFEX

A team of Hospitality and Catering students from South Eastern Regional College’s Lisburn Campus are celebrating after winning a host of medals and awards at the prestigious hospitality trade show, IFEX Chef Skills 2012.

Students from the School of Business, Hospitality and Tourism took part in a variety of competitions at the hospitality show and impressed judges with their technical skills and creativity to walk away with multiple awards.

Chef student Aaron Lewis from Lisburn, who studies professional cookery, competed in the Senior Lamb competition and impressed judges with his lamb wellington with Clontakilty black pudding, minted pea purée, with garlic, red wine and rosemary to take home bronze. Meanwhile, Aaron’s lecturer, Ruth Doherty took a silver medal in the Novelty Cakes challenge.

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Aaron got involved after Ruth told the class about the opportunity. It was the first time he had ever entered such a high profile competition.

Aaron explained: “I entered not expecting much, so it was a pleasant surprise to win the Bronze medal.The competition required me to prepare my lamb dish live during the exhibition in full view of the public and under the watchful eye of judges so the pressure was intense. It was a lot of hard work and extremely tiring, but after winning the award it’s definitely been worth it.”

Ruth Doherty, lecturer at SERC sees a bright a future ahead for the young caterer:

“Aaron is a very keen, capable student who has shown a real passion for food and the hospitality industry. Winning a Bronze medal barely eight months into his course is a fantastic achievement. ” 

Commenting on her own success Ruth said: “I spent many hours preparing my entry for the competition and trying to decide what to produce. I am absolutely thrilled to have won silver as the competition was fierce. There is great satisfaction to compete and produce a product which is recognised by industrial experts.”

James Currie Head of School for Business, Hospitality and Tourism for SERC commented; “The competition was an excellent opportunity for our students to demonstrate the high level of skills they have learnt during their studies.

“For students and staff to compete so successfully, to such a high standard, is outstanding. This level of success illustrates the quality of education and training on offer within SERC’s School of Business, Hospitality and Catering and showcases how talented our students really are.”