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Commis Chef Comp 2017 WebSt Helens College cookery students, Abby Laycock and Paul Bugeja represented the college at this year’s Association Culinaire Francaise (ACF) Commis Chef of the Year Competition.

The competition took place earlier this week and was hosted by Buxton and Leek College. It saw students produce four different dishes as they competed against eight other colleges from across the Northwest for the Eric Walker and the Dougie Simpson Trophies.

Paul, 20, originally from Malta is currently studying his level 3 diploma in professional cookery. Paul was nominated by his tutor, Ian Corkhill to represent the college in the reputable competition. Paul focussed on producing the main courses, preparing Haddock Monte Carlo and Lamb Cutlets with Reform Sauce.

Speaking before the competition, Paul admitted he did not expect to be representing the College. He said: “Cooking has always been my dream and in the future I would like to move to Paris to start a career as a chef. Being nominated to represent in this competition is a great accolade, it will really enhance my CV and give me a great experience.”

Abby, 18, is currently studying her level 2 in professional cooking and also gains experience working part-time in Colours Restaurant, St Helens College's fully operational, training restaurant staffed by catering and hospitality students who are overseen by some of the industry's top chefs. For the competition, Abby prepared two separate desserts, a chocolate soufflé and a lemon tart.

Speaking after the competition Abby said: “I was extremely proud to represent the College this week. To prepare for the event I even practised by making the dishes at weekends.”

Founded in 1845, the ACF represents the food industry with an emphasis on French Cuisine. The ACF Northwest Branch provides support for students in the catering industry. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the competition, with the first competition for Commis Chef of the Year taking place in 1987.

Head of Hospitality and Catering at St Helens College, Terry Lavin, said, "I'm extremely proud of the students for taking part in this competition. They have both committed extra time outside of their classes to practice creating their dishes and this dedication and hard-work towards their craft was show in the competition."

The Eric Walker and Dougie Simpson trophies will be presented formally at the ACF Awards Evening & President's Gourmet Dinner on 13th May at the Wycliffe Hotel, Stockport.

St Helens College has hospitality and catering courses for students of all ages and abilities. For more details visit our catering section or call us free on 0800 99 66 99.