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Tasty! Young chefs cook up a storm for local charity!

From left: Three Northbrook college student chefs, Abigail Illes, Russell Williams of Bailiffscourt Hotel, Robert Whittington (chef winner), and Richard Hopton of Hilton Brighton Metropole. Credit: Jim Browning Photography


This June young up-and-coming chefs from Northbrook College went head to head in a ‘MasterChef’ style evening, cooking up some exquisite food for 80 guests whilst raising an incredible £2,184 for local charity the Starr Trust.

Assisted by their college tutors and mentored by Russell Williams of Bailiffscourt Hotel, the two trainee chefs, Abigail Illes and Robert Whittington, created some culinary magic with a 6-course menu where diners voted on the winning dishes. Russell told us: “this year the students were even more enthusiastic as they are from families with catering backgrounds. Both menus were creative and inspired and where possible they used seasonal produce. Robert won by the smallest of margins but both chefs and teams did incredibly well and worked really hard.”

Diners enjoyed a glass of champagne upon arrival in the lovely Arundel restaurant on campus and went on to critique delicious dishes that included a port marinated foie gras ballontine with caramelised pear puree, truffled french beans and red onion focaccia.

The winning chef Robert is currently working at Bailiffscourt as well as attending college. He told us, “Cooking for the Starrs was a brilliant evening. It was really exciting to write my own menu and to organise my team who worked with me. For anyone thinking about college, it’s really worth working at the same time as doing your course, so you can get some practical experience.” Head of Department at Northbrook, Peter Whiffen, added: “this event provides a great experience and allows our students to hopefully move on and gain employment in a competitive world and we love being able to support local charities”.

Tracey Narvaez from The Starr Trust said: “this sold-out event is now in its third year and we’re so grateful to Russell for his time and expertise, to the hard working college tutors who put in extra hours to run this event and to Sascha Koehler and Brighton Hilton Metropole for their continued sponsorship. Not only do they help financially, they also provide the students with anything practical they may need in order to showcase their food. The event is a real collaboration and even local suppliers donated food and drink. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”