Chichester College students rose to the challenge recently, when they took over lunch service at one of the city’s top restaurants.
Customers were treated to a selection of dishes on a three-course lunch menu, with inspiration taken from across the globe, including Asian and Moroccan flavour combinations.
The students were split across the restaurant, with one team taking care of the kitchen, under the guidance of the head chef and his team, while the others looked after ‘front of house’ – taking care of customers as they arrived to enjoy a delicious lunch.
Hospitality student Connor Humphrey said: “It’s good for us to see how an established restaurant runs and Brasserie Blanc is a really good one, so it’s been a great experience for us
“It’s not just about the lunch service, it’s been everything that leads up to – from visiting in the weeks running up to the service, to the morning preparations.
“It’s been fantastic – a really good, hands on experience.”
Andrew Green, Executive Principal at the Chichester College Group, was among the diners. He added: “This has been an excellent experience for our students, who have really excelled themselves.
“All of our catering and hospitality students spend time working in 64 Restaurant at the college, as they learn the skills they will need in this industry.
“To take that learning out of the training restaurant, all of that learning, and put it into practice in a different environment, away from their comfort zone, is not easy. But they have really excelled themselves and they have done themselves – and their lecturers – proud.
“We couldn’t be happier with the professionalism and skill they have demonstrated and we give our thanks to the fantastic team at Brasserie Blanc for giving our students such an amazing opportunity.”
It wasn’t just college staff who were impressed by the students.
Friends Dominic and Jason had visited Brasserie Blanc to catch up over lunch, and were surprised by the college takeover. Dominic said: “It’s been good. Neither of us are from Chichester – this is our regular half-way meeting point and we had no idea the restaurant was being run by the college today.”
Jason added: “We weren’t lacking in service – it has been very enthusiastic. We’ve enjoyed the experience overall – our waiter has been great and the food was good.
“You can’t learn these skills overnight, but they are trying very hard and doing a great job.”
The students have spent the past six weeks working with the team at Brasserie Blanc, visiting in pairs one day a week to learn the ropes of the restaurant.
Raphael Falco is the general manager at Brasserie Blanc. He has been working closely with staff at the college to design the takeover event, and he was delighted with how the students performed.
He said: “It has been a great experience for us. Our team have guided the students through the service to ensure they were well prepared, organised and focused on providing the best customer experience for our guests.
“It was a busy service - we welcomed a lot more people than we expected, but the students did really well.
“I was definitely impressed by the. It’s now about how we can help to nurture their talent.
“We’ve got a team with a lot of experience, so to be able to pass that on to a younger generation is great and it’s good for us to see the future of the industry.
“This has been a game changer for us. Most of the time we have people coming in with their CVs, looking for a side job but with this - we’re looking at the future.
“These students are telling us they want to work in the business, and this is important because we need more talent in the industry.”