A group of sixteen Year 8 Food Technology students had a morning of working with Head Chef Ben Harmer as part of a food workshop at Richard Lander School. Ben who has worked at the Savoy Hotel in London and is now Head Chef and owner of Penrose Kitchen Restaurant, Shortlanesend, had already supported the School with the Rotary Club Young Chef Competition and was keen to work with more students to share his expertise.
Ben demonstrated a main course of fried Hake with roasted fennel, confit potatoes with a liquorice and butter sauce garnished with fennel puree and fennel tops followed a rich chocolate mousse, shortbread crumble, rhubarb and tarragon. Ben was keen to discuss each ingredient in the dish and chose carefully to make sure the ingredients used were seasonal, local and sustainable. He discussed in detail the sensory characteristics of each dish as well as their presentation. The level of skill and the number of stages in the dish were much higher than the students were used to in their everyday food lessons.
The students then worked hard to remember Ben’s instructions and to replicate the dishes. Ben was keen to stretch the students and help them to develop their skills and knowledge and although students found the dishes a challenge, Ben was very supportive in helping the students to produce successful results.
The students presented their dishes at the end and then were able to eat what they had made. Trying out new flavours and ingredients that they had not tried before was a highlight.
Izzy said ‘I really enjoyed the workshop because Ben made it fun, I used foods I hadn’t heard of before and I surprised myself with what I am capable of! I’ve learned useful new skills for the future.’
We would like to thank Ben for his hard work and enthusiasm and Wing of St Mawes fishmonger for providing the hake for the workshop.