Norwich chefs make debut with daring dishes
Diners tucked in to tasty treats at City College Norwich's Debut restaurant last night as two trainee chefs laid on a feast to raise cash for Children in Need.
Robert Ducker, 18, and Sam Masters, 21, served up what initially appeared to be a children's menu, but was in fact fine dining, which drew inspiration from French and Italian cuisine.
The pair are working towards advanced hospitality diplomas at City College Norwich and came up with the idea when it came for their turn to run an evening's dining for paying customers.
Treats included lollypop, which was salmon mousse rolled in smoked salmon, and toasted brioche topped with goat's cheese, caramelised onions, toasted pine nuts and rocket, which were listed on the menus as deep pan pizza.
But once diners had finished the final course – mini burgers which were really macaroons filled with a chocolate frosting – the customers were in no doubt about what they had tasted.
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Natalie Gleave, 31, from Horsford, is front office manager at the Holiday Inn at Norwich airport. She said: 'The food has been first class. The menu is brilliantly inventive.
'It brings you back to your childhood, but is served at a very high standard, and I think it shocks you in a nice way.'
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The 50 guests, comprising lecturers, associates of the college and family and friends, paid �21 for the meal, with �500 going towards Children in Need.
Steve Thorpe, head of the hospitality programme, said: 'It's about learning through doing; the students actually get to plan an event.
'It is very enterprising. Getting students to be risk takers so young is very unique, but it is what employers look for.'
The pair were guided and assessed by Nigel Crane, chef and trainer and assessor in the hospitality programme.
Mr Masters, from Norwich, said: 'We came up with the idea when we were messing around with Nigel. We gave him a child's menu as a joke, and he said we should do it. Tonight is going really well; everyone seems really happy with the food.'
Robert, from Dereham, said: 'We thought it would be funny to put bangers and mash on a menu and hand it to Nigel; we thought he would laugh, but instead he said it was possible, and could be good.
'You see bangers and mash and you think you know what to expect, but we are using venison sausages. It is all part of the entertainment.'