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Hospitality and Catering students from Merton College produced a stunning four course meal under the supervision of acclaimed chef Bruno Loubet to raise almost £1000 for charity. The students withstood the heat in the kitchen to cater for 64 lucky residents and employers from the local area who were invited to the student-run Taste restaurant at Merton College. The event was organised to raise money for Action Against Hunger, fund new equipment for the students and to give them vital experience of working at a large-scale catering event.

 merton college web story image Bruno Loubet and catering student Freya Popham 16

Guests were greeted with Prosecco and canapés while enjoying entertainment from the college band, before they sampled a delicious menu devised by the French chef and ambassador of the Hospitality and Catering Academy. Students impressed diners with a selection of dishes including roast scallops, beetroot-glazed duck breast and toasted oat and buttermilk panna cotta and malted chocolate sauce for dessert.

Debbie Richard, 17-year-old, is studying Level 1 Professional Cookery, she said: “Since joining the College the chances I’ve been given to gain real-world experience have been amazing. Catering for big events like this teach us how to stay calm under pressure, work as a team and make sure our cooking and presentation skills are up to the highest standards. Hopefully these skills and with the fact I’ve been mentored by a chef as experienced as Bruno Loubet will really stand out on my CV.”

merton college web story image Shardia Whitter Lewis 18 preparing food for the main course

Since collaborating with the College in 2012, Loubet has helped equip the aspiring chefs with the skills and knowledge needed by the industry by influencing the curriculum, hosting masterclasses and regularly dining at Taste to give feedback to the students. As the owner of successful restaurants including Bistrot Bruno in Clerkenwell and Grain Store in King’s Cross, which opened last year to critical acclaim, his expertise is highly valued.

Chef Loubet said: “It’s been a privilege to be able to cook with these students. Their passion for hospitality and catering is clear to see and they’ve all come so far in such a short space of time. I have no doubt in their ability to go on to achieve success within the industry.”

merton college taste restaurant Guests enjoying the charity gala dinner

Steve Cannell, Hospitality and Catering Academy Manager said: “It’s great that our students have been able to work alongside such an inspiring and experienced chef while raising money for a really deserving cause. Chef Loubet has worked around the world and is hugely respected in the industry - this kind of experience is invaluable and will make them stronger as they progress with us and on into their careers.”

The Hospitality and Catering Academy opened in September 2013 and gives students live kitchen and front-of-house experience with paying customers at its commercial restaurant, Taste. Taste is open to the public for lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays during term time, book a table here.