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Thousands of race goers tried their luck at this year’s Investec Derby at Epsom Downs Racecourse but it was the students of Merton College’s Hospitality and Catering Academy who were the real winners as they enjoyed three days of paid work experience at the event, cooking alongside legendary chefs Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr.

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.

Dozens of budding chefs attended a masterclass at Merton College’s Hospitality and Catering Academy as part of Wandsworth Council’s Young Chef of the Year competition. Students from seven of the borough’s schools donned their chef whites and learnt how to prepare sauces for fish, make canapés and expert knife skills from the College’s chef lecturers and students, in their second master class of the competition – preparing them for the grand final.

Merton College’s catering students explored the kitchens of the Royal Albert Hall that have whipped up meals for famous actors, musicians and royalty during a behind-the-scenes tour of London most prestigious entertainment – finding out how the kitchens work and even visiting the Queen’s private rooms.

Young chefs received expert advice as our Taste Restaurant hosted an industry event attended by top chefs and food industry professionals. Organised by the Chefs’ Forum, an organisation that brings together top chefs and catering colleges to support the next generation of young chefs, and held at the Merton College, guests were invited for a day of cookery demonstrations, chocolate tasting, a butchery masterclass and expert-led forage at nearby Morden Park.

Budding chefs and front of house professionals from Merton College have an exclusive opportunity to design, cook and serve a menu at the prestigious Investec Derby Festival held at the Epsom Downs Racecourse.