Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s Commis Chef, Crystal Newton, has triumphed in the Passion to Inspire 2018 hospitality competition, beating teams of young chefs from across the region. Representing her college West Suffolk College, Crystal worked in a team of three (two in the kitchen and one front-of-house) to create and serve an exquisite menu that wowed the judges enough to secure the coveted first prize trophy.
While studying at West Suffolk College, Crystal also works as Commis Chef at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, supporting the Executive Head Chef and wider kitchen team in crafting 2AA Rosette winning menus in the Hotel’s Squires restaurant.
Following their success at the competition, Crystal and her fellow team members, Alex Cornwell and Will Shin, have been invited to attend the upcoming Skills for Chefs Conference in Sheffield, where they will enhance their hospitality knowledge even further, with the opportunity to learn from culinary masters such as Raymond Blanc, John Williams and Chantelle Nicholson. The team has also been awarded a number of other exciting prizes, including: accommodation and dinner at Titchwell Manor; chefs jackets and aprons from Russums; a college farm visit to Dingley Dell Pork Farm; and a day at Infusions Experience Development Kitchen.
Organised by Murray Chapman, Passion to Inspire was established in 2009 to bridge the gap between up-and-coming students and the hospitality industry. Teams are assessed by a panel of expert judges on their knowledge of produce, their ability to create and cost a menu, as well as their exceptional front of house service. This year’s competition took place at Cambridge Regional College and competing teams were chosen earlier this year when West Suffolk College, College West Anglia, Colchester Institute and Cambridge Regional College held in-house heats.
Sean Melville, Executive Head Chef, Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, commented: “Crystal has been working with us for eight months; she fits into the team so well and her passion for delivering outstanding culinary experiences to all of our valued patrons shines through her work. We’re excited for Crystal to continue to develop her impressive skill set, and are proud to have supported Crystal on her journey so far, we can’t wait to see what this exceptional young chef does next!”
West Suffolk College’s winning menu consisted of: Loch Duart salmon belly with lime, grapefruit, soy, peanut and avocado to start; Creedy Carver duck breast and duck fat pommeanna, with kibbeh, wild garlic, peas, broad beans, white asparagus and dukkah for mains; and apple tarte tatin with vanilla and calvados ice cream to finish.