THE SKY is the limit for the catering industry’s newest trainees at The Skylight Restaurant, Harlow College, as they embark on their culinary careers which could secure them jobs in the UK and all over the world.
Above the main cafeteria at Harlow College lies The Skylight. It is a modern styled brasserie with clean lines and relaxed atmosphere, which is enhanced by the over-head natural lighting.
It has a European menu and is open to the public, the college’s staff, and students.
The bistro offers an array of exceptional value for money dishes served with wine and other beverages. It is possible to have a three-course lunch here for under ten pounds.
The restaurant’s apprentices are studying for NVQ Level One Culinary Skills and NVQ Level Two Professional Food and Beverage Service, from where they can progress on to a Level Three.
Jenny Reynolds, the restaurant’s manager and course tutor told me: ‘These courses are for a variety of students who may not necessarily have academic qualifications.
‘It is a fantastic opportunity for the staff of the future to work and perfect their skills while being assessed in a pleasant and professional atmosphere,’ she added.
Jenny has had a wide and interesting career in the catering world, meeting many celebrities such as Bob Geldof and Princess Margaret, but she is now passing on her skills to the fledgling chefs and hospitality staff of Harlow.
‘It is very rewarding to watch the young people develop their standards in preparation and service. We want to develop their stamina, strength and grooming skills as well as furthering their supervision and leadership qualifications,’ Jenny told me.
When I visited the restaurant, I was served by Chloe, Holly and Bradley who were all 17 years old and very professional.
I enjoyed a starter of Mackerel Pate in Salmon, and then continuing with the fish theme tucked into Beer Battered Cod fresh from Billingsgate, with chips, mushy peas, and tartare sauce. It was delicious and satisfying. I had no room for dessert, but could have had a Chocolate and Orange Torte with Cream.
Senior tutor in Culinary Skills, Hailey Witherden, explained: ‘Primarily, students learn the basics of food preparation and cooking methods. The training improves confidence and communication,’ she said.
‘It is essential to understand the relationship between the restaurant and kitchen and the different pressures they experience,’ added Hailey.
The eatery also hosts themed evenings consisting of special cocktail and quiz nights. There will be a Greek Night on November 9 which should be particularly entertaining.
A three-course Christmas lunch will be available from December 1, with a four-course Xmas Gourmet dinner on offer from November 30, December 7 and 14, complete with a free glass of Prosecco.
The restaurant is open for lunch on Wednesday and Friday and on Thursday for lunch and dinner and is well worth a visit.
For further information and bookings please contact Jenny on 01279 868060 or go to [email protected]