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A group of talented young chefs from Merton College’s Hospitality and Catering Academy have been awarded paid work experience at the prestigious Investec Ladies Day and Derby Day events at Epsom Downs Racecourse. The work experience has been offered to the students after the College took part in the Investec Derby Chef Challenge, which saw the budding chefs design, create and pitch dishes to be included on menus at the world-famous racecourse.

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Representatives from Investec, sponsors of the event, and the Jockey Club, which runs the kitchens at the racecourse launched the competition at the College last September.

The competition has seen the students work with acclaimed chef Albert Roux OBE, and the College's chef ambassador Bruno Loubet, who have helped develop and refine the dish ideas the students came up with.

A spokeswoman from Investec said, "Investec are proud to have worked with Merton College on the Investec Derby Chef challenge. The students have created and designed a wonderful menu which is both innovative and captures the essence of the Investec Derby Festival.

"The students have shown passion and commitment to this challenge over the past few months, and we look forward to serving the final menu at the Investec Derby Festival."

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Steve Cannell, Head of the Hospitality and Catering Academy at Merton College, said, “The Challenge has been a fantastic opportunity for our students and has taught them what it’s like working to an industry-standard brief.

“We’re delighted with how well the students have performed and the paid work experience is testament to their hard work and dedication to creating dishes way above their age and experience.”

The students designed dishes such as a cured salmon on rye bread and for dessert a white chocolate panna cotta, which will be served to more than 400 guests at the racecourse on June 5 and 6.