Students cook up a celebration of Irish cuisine

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Bringing the flavours of Ireland to local residents, the Zest restaurant at Langley College held its first theme night of the year on Thursday (16 March 2017) to celebrate St Patrick's Day. The sold-out event was packed with visitors enjoying an array of dishes including Bubble and Squeak, Irish Stew and Apple Amber, all prepared by the College’s talented catering students.

Diners at the restaurant, which is open to the public for bookings, were treated to a mouth-watering menu at a pocket-pleasing price. Level three professional cookery student Amy Brooker, 18 years old, from Slough, devised the menu for the evening, which offered guests a three-course menu for just £18.50 per person, and included a complimentary amuse bouche and petit fours.

Talking about the event, which was inspired by her Irish roots, Amy said: “My Nan is Irish so that’s where the theme came from. The evening went as well as I had hoped and everyone gave good feedback. My family were here to support me and they were impressed.”

Fellow student Tony Peverill (17, from Langley), who is studying a professional cookery level two course at Langley College, said: “My uncle used to be a professional chef and he inspired me to cook. I’ve learnt so much since I’ve been at college as it is like a real restaurant. I really enjoy the team spirit in the kitchen and the theme night gives us a chance to do something different.”

Local resident, Steven Gillingwater, was one diner enjoying the authentic Irish cuisine. He said: “The bubble and squeak was lovely. It took me back to Ireland. My Nan was Irish and it was just as good as she used to make. I’m definitely interested in coming along to the Spanish night.”

Fellow diners, Councillor Preston Brooker and his wife Shirley, agree: “It is good to support young chefs. Everyone should come and experience the restaurant here. It looks very professional.”

Providing a real work environment for students, the Zest restaurant at Langley College is open to the public for bookings and serves a range of delicious seasonal dishes at competitive prices. All food is cooked and served by talented students under the supervision of industry-trained staff.

Zest holds a variety of special theme nights throughout the year, to give diners the opportunity to try different dishes from around the world including classic French cooking and Thai cuisine. Upcoming theme nights include Spanish and English cuisine.

The Zest restaurant is part of East Berkshire College’s Hospitality and Catering Academy in Langley. 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 visit www.eastberks.ac.uk or call 01753 793000.

Zest will be holding a Spanish theme night on Thursday 30 March from 5.30-8pm. To book a table please call 01753 793344 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For menus, theme nights and more information, please click here.

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