By Angela Green, Content Executive, H&C News: Students joined by Angela Hartnett and brigade for reopening of Rouge Restaurant.
Angela Hartnett recently joined students in the kitchen at Rouge Restaurant, New City College, for an evening of Italian fine dining.
Hartnett brought along a team of chefs to work with students on the Hospitality and Catering courses, to prepare a three-course meal served to special guests to celebrate the reopening of Rouge.
The award-winning commercial restaurant is based at the New City College campus in Chadwell Heath, just outside Romford. It is open to the public, and is a real working environment led by industry professionals who provide students with experiential on-the-job training.
Hartnett and her team worked with students throughout the day to create a three-course Italian inspired tasting menu which included a range of canapes, arancini and pasta dishes – rigatoni with sausage ragu and pumpkin tortellini.
The event raised awareness and donations of over £500 for Action Against Hunger, an international charity that aims to end life-threatening hunger and malnutrition, of which Hartnett is a patron.
Maurice Haskew, Senior Curriculum Manager for Catering & Hospitality, said: “The event was a huge success. It’s a fantastic experience for our students to work alongside Michelin chefs and all for a great cause. Angela and her team were amazing and so supportive with our learners.”
Miriam Cienciala, who studied Professional Cookery at New City College, went on to complete an apprenticeship with NCC as Commis Chef at 5-star hotels in the West End and is now employed by Angela Hartnett at the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest.
Attending the Rouge event last Thursday, Miriam said: “Rouge gave me the confidence to push myself to greater heights. I knew what I wanted and the Rouge team supported me so I could achieve my goals. Now I have a great job and I’m living the life I wanted.”
Isaac King, a Level 2 student at Rouge, started his hospitality journey as a 14-year-old on the Junior Chefs Saturday course. He was inspired at an early age to develop his cooking skills and attended the sessions until he left school. He then enrolled onto the Level 1 Introduction to Hospitality where he developed his professional attitude working in Rouge.
This year Isaac has progressed to Level 2 Hospitality where he has honed his skills further and has reached the World Skills Front of House competition finals soon to be held in Wales.
Isaac was one of the Front of House students working with Angela at the event to deliver excellent service. He said: “I am really enjoying my time at the college. To meet real celebrity chefs was great and I think I will remember that for years to come.
“I love working at Rouge, it is like one big family where everyone helps each other. They are so supportive and nothing is too much trouble. I sometimes post pictures of my food and recently had over 1k likes for one picture of a steak sandwich!”
The event was also attended by the Mayor of Redbridge, along with Claire Symonds – CEO to Redbridge Council, local councillors, business leaders, school heads, and the Association of Colleges Area Director and National Employment Lead, Mary Vine Morris.
Narzny Khan, Principal of NCC Redbridge and Epping Forest campuses, said: “Places like Rouge are so important for students to be able to learn in a commercial environment. We are so lucky and thankful to have the continued support of our regular customers and the local community who visit us for lunch and dinner. Their support and custom are essential to the success of this enterprise.
“Rouge provides our students with real-industry experience, where they can practise their craft and develop their professional skills. Not only does it nurture their aspirations, but also ensures that our students hit the ground running when they progress into employment. There are so many opportunities within the hospitality sector now that the sky is the limit for our young people!”
There are plenty more events planned for Rouge, which has an AA College Rosette award for food and service. Students will have the opportunity to work alongside ‘The Spanish Chef’ Omar Allibhoy, founder of Tapas Revolution, as well as Masterchef: The Professionals alumni, Ian Samuels and Victor Okunowo.