Former business student Rosie Alvarez asked the first year hospitality and catering students to create a dish using one of her La Saucy Salsa sauces.
The competition, which formed part of their course assessment, saw the students whip up a two-course meal to be judged by Rosie and chef Luke Hackman, who has more than 30 years’ experience in business and currently runs the kitchen at The Gribble in Oving.
A variety of flavours were used, with students taking their inspiration from across the globe to create dishes like tacos, moussaka, ravioli and risotto.
It was 17-year-old Jodie Osborne’s flavoursome arancini recipe – fried stuffed rice balls with mozzarella and coated with breadcrumbs – which most impressed the judges.
Rosie, from Bognor Regis, said: “The standard of cooking was fantastic overall. I was amazed by the different ways they used my salsas, it was inspiring. I certainly picked up a few ideas.
“It was fantastic to have Luke joining me. He has a wealth of experience, as a chef and in the catering industry as a whole. Luke was particularly interested in one of the student’s entries as she is currently working with him at The Gribble, who have employed many college students in the past.
“We were both impressed by Jodie’s arancini. We thought the concept was very good – the flavours she used, along with the chilli and garlic salsa, really complemented each other. It worked very well.
“And her lemon meringue pie was a palette cleansing pudding, which rounded off her menu nicely.”
Jodie was presented with a La Saucy Salsa gift box, which was designed by Chichester College student Josh Reynolds in a previous competition, and her recipe will appear on Rosie’s website.
Jodie said: “I was really surprised to win, as I thought some of the other dishes were better.
“I’ve cooked arancini before but I experimented with the recipe and salsa and just kept on refining it.
“I’m really happy and I can’t believe how much they liked it.”
Alison Girdlestone, catering and hospitality lecturer, said the project had been an interesting way to challenge the students.
“It really captured their imagination. They had to work hard to hone their recipes, using the products, and I think being judged by Luke, a professional chef, was something they will take a lot from.
“He spent time after the competition giving feedback on all of the dishes, highlighting things that worked and explaining how they could improve, which will only serve to help them develop their skills.
“It was a rewarding experience and I think the students really learnt a lot from it.”
After attending a business start-up course at the college last year, Rosie secured support through the college’s enterprise society, which helped to provide some financial assistance whilst she was setting up La Saucy Salsa.
In return, she wanted to give other students opportunities to get involved in the business by running this competition and an earlier design contest, which saw HND design students creating gift boxes for her products.
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