Catering students enjoy expert masterclass

Catering students at South Essex College took part in a masterclass challenge hosted by a chef who started his career with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir de Quat Saisons and went on to work for Gordon Ramsay in New York and Melbourne. 

John Lawson, who has worked in two and three Michelin star restaurants in France, the UK, USA and Australia, visited the college’s Southend Campus to put the students’ skills to the test.

He created a dish of roast butternut squash, butternut squash puree, black trumpet mushrooms, soy pumpkin seeds, kale and feta, before the students took on the challenge themselves.

To test their culinary skills, the students had to make the dish without a recipe, and instead had to rely on their knowledge and creativity to achieve their masterpieces.

During the session John and the students also discussed the virtues of seasonal, local, organic and free range produce.

Graeme Collie, Head of Commercial Catering, said it was a fantastic experience for the students.

He said: “The students really enjoyed the challenge working alongside a chef of John’s calibre.

“It allowed them to find out more about working in the industry and learn different skills and techniques from someone who has worked all around the world.”

To find out more about catering courses at the college visit