Trout saves the day after Yarmouth gale force winds

Storms and gale force winds forced trainee chefs at Great Yarmouth College preparing for a national competition to swiftly change their menu and put in lots of last-minute practice to perfect a new dish.

Bad weather meant no fishing boats ventured out for the locally caught hot mackerel the students needed for their special starter in a three-course menu of local produce they were practicing for a competition in Stratford-Upon-Avon this week.

At the last minute, Sam Cooper, Emily Cushion and Jade Irving had to scrap plans for a hot mackerel dish and head to Sam Cole Fishmongers at Lowestoft for an alternative of locally caught trout.

Tutor David Patterson said Sam Cole Fishmongers had offered to sponsor the students by donating the fish or practice and competition dishes.

He said: 'It was all a bit of a rush to change the menu when we learned no fishing boats had gone out at all but the students gave up a lot of their own time to practice and we're grateful to Sam Cole for all the help.'

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The three students had to prepare, cook and serve their menu in one hour 45 minutes against teams of young chefs from colleges across the country at Stratford-Upon-Avon in the Midlands and East Anglia heats of the Brakes Student Chef Team Challenge organised by national food company Brakes, Challenge.

To qualify, the teams had to enter menus using local produce and judges chose their favourites and invited colleges to compete.

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The winners will cook in the final at Hotelympia next month at London's Excel Centre.

Sam Cooper will prepare the trout starter, Jade Irving will prepare a main course of pan-friend wood pigeon beast with baby savoy cabbage, field mushrooms and chicken liver croute with a red wine reduction and Emily Cushion will create a desert of gooseberry fool with poppy seed and ginger tuille with a wine and elderberry jelly.

The team is also being sponsored by college restaurant suppliers Jim's Butchers, of Great Yarmouth, and Hardings Produce, Norwich. Jim's Butchers – where level 3 catering students toured to see where their raw ingredients come from – gave more than �100 worth of meat for practice and the competition and Hardings all the fruit and vegetables.

David said: 'We're delighted our suppliers are sponsoring our students in their competition. Competition work is important experience for them and puts Great Yarmouth on the map.

'The learners have given up a lot of their own time to practice.'

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