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Guest Chefs, Italy & Student Excellence | The Quantock Restaurant in 2023

quantock restuarant bridgwater and taunton college

With the academic year coming to its end, The Quantock Restaurant has had an eventful year supporting our Professional Cookery & Hospitality students with their studies. 

So, what is The Quantock Restaurant? First and foremost, it serves mouth-watering dishes made using locally-sourced ingredients, brought to you by ambitious young professionals studying at BTC. 

It intertwines education with experience, replicating a real working environment for our students, whilst offering a quality dining experience to members of the public. And better yet, it bolsters the skills and craftmanship of the next generation of Hospitality professionals! 

Join us for an in-depth look at a year which has had plenty to shout about and celebrate: 

Group Tasters that inspire local schools 

With 70 students in attendance, The Quantock Restaurant has offered tasters and practical workshops to local schools. 

The Castle School was one such school, with students taking part in practical tasks, discussing Hospitality and Catering courses at BTC, and their aspirations in the Hospitality industry. 

Uffculme School also attended; fabulous ambassadors for their school who loved getting hands-on with kitchen challenges. 

Rachel Sotomayor, said, 

“We had a great time – the session was excellent! The students were all so grateful. We look forward to bringing another group in the future!” 

Each school and session provided a fantastic opportunity for those interested in exploring a career within the Hospitality industry. 

To work with our own students and experience the facilities we offer first-hand is the best way to get a taste for the unique study environment that is The Quantock Restaurant. 

We hope to welcome some of these students into the fold when they transition into the exciting world of further education. 

A big thank you to all the schools that participated! 

A plethora of unique work experience opportunities 

This year, BTC students have taken part in some extraordinary work placements and demonstrated their skills in live, professional and demanding catering environments. 

The Carlton Tower London, Hard Rock Hotel London, The Swan Bampton, Minehead Eye, The Castle Taunton, The Newt Somerset and Base Ulverston are just a handful of the employers kind enough to host our students for two weeks of placement. 

These restaurants have all developed a strong reputation in both service and food, and our students’ time there has been incredibly valuable to their personal and professional development. 

This continues a strong working relationship between BTC, The Quantock Restaurant and top Hospitality employers both in Somerset, and beyond. 

David Plant, Operations Manager, Castle Hotel, said, 

“They have been phenomenal, they have seamlessly fit in with the team and adjusted to working with us here. Picking up the job quickly and effortlessly, even though it’s been two days you wouldn’t think they are new.” 

BTC alumni have secured permanent roles previously because of their hard work and dedication during work experience – and this year is no different. Hestercombe Gardens offered a student permanent employment at the end of their work experience period! 

Discovering the world through your taste buds 

Students were also treated to some amazing opportunities outside of the UK, with Erasmus supporting a once in a lifetime experience in Bologna. 

Working in kitchens in a whole different country was quite the experience for our young chefs, with one student based in the gorgeous Hotel Mitico, a 4-star hotel & natural spa. 

Students were able to sample each other’s exotic dishes in these unique environments, as well as gorge on the traditional Italian delicacies – pasta, pizza and parmesan. 

All while overcoming language barriers, travel, new environments and different techniques, they each excelled and should be proud of completing such a challenge! 

It wasn’t all hard work, too – with thanks to the scheme, students were able to try the local cuisine, explore beautiful architecture, and get lost in the beauty of Florence. 

Guest chefs that deliver elite dining experiences 

Guest chefs have delighted diners all year round, with extravagant menus that are a feast for your eyes – and taste buds! 

Chef Denis Turner of Crowcombe Court hosted an evening, accompanied by an alumni student of ours that was previously so impressed by Denis, he requested his work experience to be with him. 

Crowcombe Court has a long history of influential characters within Somerset, and it is here Denis focuses on creating lifetime memories for weddings throughout the year with his celebrated cuisine. 

Chef Tommy Browning-Young of Forest Produce is an ingredient-led chef who would much rather create a dish from what’s available, than source an ingredient once a menu is written. 

His slow-cooked pork belly was a hit with our diners and students, who were keen to help an exciting menu be executed perfectly. 

Chef Olivia Baggley was another delight to host; an alumnus of BTC who has since worked in London and Michelin Star kitchens, always striving to raise her aspirations. 

Now at the helm of the Fleur de Lys, it was a joy to see our current students interact with a former student – who aptly displays just what hard work, dedication and drive can lead to in the Hospitality industry. 

A huge thank you to each of these guest chefs and every other: Dan Moon, Andrew Swann, Matt Taylor, and Sam of Dineindulge, who served dishes inspired by cuisines around the globe with ingredients to match – from yuzu, pork and haddock to venison, partridge and scallops. 

Unique learning opportunities for learners of all ages 

With employer workshops from artisans such as Damien Wager, owner of Edible Art Patisserie, and Adult Learning courses that cover a diverse range of cuisines, BTC and The Quantock Restaurant nurture anyone who desires to learn more about catering and hospitality. 

From patisserie to fish, introductory to advanced, a range of commercial courses welcome keen learners from all skill levels, each met with positive feedback and a high demand. 

Mary Clothier, Course Attendee, said, 

“Another excellent course, great instructions given by the teacher, and I have learned a great variety of skills in a relaxed environment. Thanks again for a great day!” 

New experiences and flavours month-to-month 

A busy year has made one thing very clear – The Quantock Restaurant never stops offering new and exciting dishes and events to challenge our students and wow our clientele. 

Looking back, a gorgeous Christmas provision featured traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings, pan-fried duck breast with butternut puree and port jus, and a delectable blood orange parfait with a cranberry and mint granita, meringue and gingerbread. 

During the cold post-festive lull of January, braised beef ragu with orzo and kale, an aubergine, chickpea and lentil dahl with flatbread and raita and a cardamom panna cotta with poached pear each warmed many, and brightened up an otherwise grey month. 

Our High Tea Tuesdays have also been a success, featuring a selection of teas, sandwiches, and the obvious clotted cream and scones with locally sourced jams and spreads. It’s a once a month occasion, and one tradition we all adore here. 

If something – somehow! – still hasn’t tickled your fancy, how about our most recent menu? 

With choices of lamb rump with fondant potato, spring greens and wild garlic, sea bream with samphire and creamy saffron couscous or heritage carrots with bulgur wheat and homemade ricotta – which has been met with rave reviews – we have something for everyone. 

Feast your eyes… 

To close this update, please enjoy several images of the delicious food served this year – and be sure to come visit us if you haven’t already! With students finishing their studies, why not get in touch and get a booking ready for the start of a fresh academic year? We’d love to welcome you, whether friends, family or co-workers! 

Photos courtesy of Faydit Photography

Contact [email protected] to book today, and be sure to follow our Facebook page for frequent updates. 

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