Newcastle College made a clean sweep at this year’s North East Culinary Trade Association (NECTA) Competition, cementing itself as the best culinary college in the region.
The team came out on top in each team category and placed first in the food service round before being named Culinary Team of the Year and College of the Year, while Curriculum Leader of Hospitality and Tourism Phil Pringle claimed the coveted title of North East Chef of the Year, beating chefs from some of the region’s best restaurants.
Students also placed in the top three for each of the individual live classes, taking home 12 gold medals and Level 2 Patisserie and Confectionary student Megan Armstrong given the gold for best student.
NECTA is an independent association of North East catering professionals with the aim of raising the profile and quality of the food trade in the region. It works closely with restaurants, employers and catering colleges such as Newcastle to provide skills and opportunities to students and chefs, while attracting top talent to the area. Its inter-college hospitality salon was held at Gateshead’s Hilton hotel in May and saw Newcastle College go up against five other colleges from across the North East and Yorkshire to showcase its student’s skills across ten categories.
Day two of the competition, reserved for restaurants and industry professionals, ended with the North East Chef of the Year announcement. The title was awarded to Phil above local restaurant and hotel chefs for his impressive menu of spiced sautéed scallops, trio of pork and petit Antoine.
The College has had consistent success at the annual event, which is credited to both its industry standard facilities and the expertise of its culinary teaching staff. Students at the College run their own on-campus restaurant, The Chef’s Academy, which is open to the public and are trained under the watchful eye of industry level chefs such as Phil.
Craig Cowan, Head of Curriculum for Hospitality and Tourism at Newcastle College said: “NECTA is a fantastic opportunity for the College to showcase the talent of both its staff and its students and we look forward to the event every year.
“It’s a unique chance for our students to showcase themselves to industry and potential employers from the North East and beyond. They definitely rose to the challenge this year and made the most of the opportunity. The results speak for themselves, I’m really proud of them.
“Phil winning North East Chef of the Year was an amazing end to the event for us and shows the standard of expertise we have in the College teaching our students.”
Phil added of his success at the competition: “To be named North East Chef of 2018 is an amazing feeling, especially when I was up against so many great competitors like Peace and Loaf.
“I’m so passionate about what I do and my aim is to pass that passion to our students and show them what they can achieve, so I hope that my win on top of their own successes in the competition has inspired them.”
Douglas Jordan, organiser of NECTA commented, “It was a great pleasure and honour to host the NECTA competition and once again the overall standard was extremely high. As we continue to improve standards, the NECTA profile and that of the colleges increases. Newcastle College's history and commitment to the event is testament to their success and overall victory in 2018."
Find out more about Hospitality courses at Newcastle College here.