City College Plymouth gets a shiny new restaurant

It’s a very busy time here in Plymouth as we prepare for new academic year. We started off well by taking part in Flavour Fest in August with a few demonstrations both on main screen and in Food is Fun tent. This was followed by Plymouth Marine and Seafood fest  this weekend with various dems on the Barbican, fantastic weather, great location and gave us a chance to promote ourselves and a plug for the new restaurant. Recruitment has been good as we welcome new and returning students to the Hospitality and Catering Academy, it’s always great to see those spotlessly clean chef whites and impeccably ironed restaurant uniforms as they see the first light of day – challenge is always to keep them that way!

This year we have a new full time level 3 Advanced Chef Diploma course starting which is the progression from the VRQ 2 in Professional Cookery. Content not only focuses on advanced craft skills but also purchasing, sourcing and gastronomy as well as supervisory skills. We will certainly be approaching some of our friendly suppliers for visits and would welcome offers from visiting chefs to enhance the programme and share your skills with our students. We have also seen a great interest in our Patisserie and Confectionary qualifications as chefs wish to broaden their skills in this area.

The greatest challenge we have at the moment is  managing without a restaurant as we commenced our refurbishment programme in August, thanks to the Duke of Cornwall Hotel for letting our students go down there for a couple of weeks to do some mis en place training front of house. Following a successful bid to the Savoy Educational Trust and with match funding provided by the college, we are installing a fully operational bar and seating for 72 covers plus lounge seating, reception area, new decor etc. we have also taken this opportunity to rebrand ourselves and will be known as PL1 which looks better when seen on our logo. We are currently devising the food offer to give both a lunchtime brasserie and table d’hote menu and fine dining on two evenings. Through the Chefs Forum contacts were made with Gary from Urbane Professional who successfully tendered for the bar so we await the finished result of it all with anticipation, all being well we will open on 1st October.

Looking forward to the Autumn lunch which will again give an opportunity to network, showcase our student skills and keep the industry/education dialogue going.