Stoke Park’s award-winning chef cooks-up a storm at Langley College

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Stoke Park’s award-winning chef, Chris Wheeler transported Humphry’s fine dining restaurant to Langley College on Thursday 16th June 2016, when he worked with a team of 20 catering students to create a spectacular gala dinner.

The first event of its kind at the College in Station Road, the special night was held at the College’s Zest training restaurant and provided hospitality and catering students with an amazing learning opportunity. Under the guidance of the hotel’s celebrated Head Chef, Chris Wheeler, and Food & Beverage Manager, Tariq Mahomed, students recreated and served a selection of stunning modern British dishes from Humphry’s prestigious menu.

The incredible set menu offered 60 guests a flavour of the five-star hotel’s fine dining experience at a fraction of the usual cost. Diners were treated to a three-course journey of culinary delights including Dorset Crab and Prawn Tian, Pan-fried Sea Bass with Butternut Squash Risotto, Roast Loin of Lamb, Blackcurrant Soufflé and Humphry’s signature Chocolate Box Dessert with Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Chris Wheeler, who has appeared on TV shows such as Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch, has been Head Chef at the 3 AA rosette restaurant at Stoke Park Country Club and Hotel for 13 years. Passionate about developing and inspiring new talent for the industry, he currently employs two apprentice chefs from Langley College.

“I really enjoyed spending the day with the students at East Berkshire College and bringing Humphry’s to Zest for the day. I was an apprentice when I first started in the industry and I truly value the opportunities I was given, and we are delighted to support the students and the fantastic Hospitality & Catering Academy,” commented Chris Wheeler.

Starting with a drinks reception, the gala dinner also included a charity raffle, where one lucky diner won a one night stay at Stoke Park, including dinner at Humphry’s fine dining restaurant. All the money raised was donated to the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice to help support the charity’s incredible work.

Clive Hodge, Commercial Director at East Berkshire College, explains: “The gala dinner was a wonderful learning experience for our students and a fabulous night for guests. We are extremely grateful to Chris Wheeler and the team at Stoke Park for giving up their time to work with our students. It was a truly inspiring evening for all involved.”

Rhys Kralyic, who is studying on the Level 3 Professional Cookery course at Langley College, was delighted to take part in the event: “It was a real honour to learn from such a top chef,” said Rhys. “The pressure was really on to produce dishes that were up to Stoke Park’s high standards, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I finally mastered the art of a one-handed quenelle.”

Langley resident, Ann Portsmouth was one of the diners at the special pop-up evening. Speaking at the event, she said: “The dinner was absolutely amazing and every course was beautifully presented. The students have worked really hard. I can’t wait to see what they do next year.”

Providing a real work environment for students, the Zest restaurant at Langley College is part of East Berkshire College’s Hospitality & Catering Academy. Officially opened in 2013, the academy works in partnership with patrons from some of the most prestigious restaurants, contract caterers and hotels within the region to provide students with the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.

From professional cookery (levels one to three) and food hygiene to front of house service, the academy offers an array of full-time and part-time courses, including apprenticeships. The College also delivers a range of short courses including wine tasting, Italian cookery and cake decorating.

For more information on the Hospitality & Catering Academy at Langley College, please click here or call 01753 793000.

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