To support Yr 11 pupils with their upcoming assessment in GCSE Food Preparation & Nutrition, we arranged a food inspiration day for students to attend at The Alchemist restaurant, Gunwharf Quays on 15 January 2020. This trip offered a range of opportunities for pupils to engage with industry professionals and taste test a collection of foods. This was used to inspire pupils for their own assessment. Students also engaged in a mock tail making experience to identify all elements of a dining experience. There were hands on demonstrations of some theatrical elements, such as dry ice and using molecular mixology. Pupils were encouraged to take inspiration from a successful business and draw upon their experiences to develop their ideas for their own practical exam: a three course meal. The students had a wonderful time. They arrived to welcome drinks served with lollies. They had a demonstration of a selection of mock tails. Students were then given the opportunity to come behind the bar and make their own.
Our barman Aaron explained what was needed to work the job and the ability to work under pressure to remember over 200 recipes of by heart! He also explained the science behind some of the special effects used to bring the cocktails to life.
After that we were taken to our tables filled with platers of various different starters and students completed some taste test profiling. Here was the opportunity for students to try some new foods such as seafood and more unusual vegetables. Students were taking into consideration how the food was presented and the sizes of portions in relation to how many people were eating it.
To finish our visit the Head Chef Stewart came out and offered some inspiration about what he would cook if he was doing their brief and also gave some suggestions about dishes that will help students gain marks as well as showcase skills. A fantastic point he made when talking about the skills needed in the real world was the ability to be adaptable and ready for a challenge.
The students responded well to that and had so much to say:
“I enjoyed making mocktails as it was so hands on”
“Taste testing the food was good as I tried foods I have never eaten before”
“Talking to the chef gave us some good ideas for what to do next”
‘I liked that my allergies were accommodated for, thank you’.