Photo gallery: Guests savour Aylsham Food Festival meal prepared by students

Aylsham Food Festival gala dinner. Tiramisu bombes ready for serving. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

Aylsham Food Festival gala dinner. Tiramisu bombes ready for serving. Picture: RICHARD BATSON - Credit: Archant

Scores of students got a taste of function catering when they prepared, cooked and served a five-course meal to more than 100 food festival guests.

Aylsham Food Festival gala dinner. Fruit punch on arrival. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

Aylsham Food Festival gala dinner. Fruit punch on arrival. Picture: RICHARD BATSON - Credit: Archant

Aylsham High School's hall and kitchen switched into hotel mode on Friday night as it hosted a gala dinner.

Aylsham Food Festival gala dinner. Stirring the soup. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

Aylsham Food Festival gala dinner. Stirring the soup. Picture: RICHARD BATSON - Credit: Archant

Youngsters had been practicing making the dishes for three weeks then brought it all boil for an event which saw them welcome guests, take orders, finish off the food, and serve it.

The students' achievements drew praise from festival patron, and top chef Steve Thorpe.

Mr Thorpe, head of the catering and hospitality school at City College, Norwich, told the gathering: 'As a professional I am very impressed. You can be extremely proud of the skills shown here today.'


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Head of the school's catering faculty Jason Baxter said 110 youngsters aged 12-16 had been involved in the event and preparation.

'It has been a buzz all day. It is their opportunity to experience a real life mass catering event - and also helps them with their communication and presentation skills as well as problem solving.'

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The guests dined on fruit punch and canapes, minestrone soup or tomato and mozzarella salad, chicken cacciatore or stuffed polpetta of plaice, tiramisu bombes or pear and apple tarte tatin, with a Norfolk cheeseboard and handmade crackers to finish.

Among the guests were a German couple who had made a special trip from the Frankfurt area to visit the Aylsham Food Festival.

Han-Jurgen Senftner and partner Christiana Ritterbusch saw the event mentioned in a multi-lingual Spotlight magazine.

'We like to travel and thought it was a chance to try something different,' said Mr Senftner. They enjoyed both the food and the company they had at their table.

The festival continues today with cookery workshops at Blickling Hall, and a farmers' market, children's cookery and percussion performances in Aylsham town centre, before a sell out 'slow breakfast' finale using local produce on Sunday morning.

More information at www.slowfoodaylsham.org.uk/foodfestival

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