Newcastle College has retained the coveted title of the North East’s top regional college for hospitality and catering at this year’s North East Culinary Trade Awards (NECTA).

The College achieved incredible results at the annual event, with students taking home seven gold, five silver, three bronze, one participation award, and the NECTA College Champions 2024 trophy.  

The live inter-college catering competition is hosted by Food and Drink North East and was this year held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle. 

Learners from Newcastle College’s hospitality and catering courses joined those from across the North East’s colleges to take part in 14 different live competitions, including knife skills and veg prep, young barista of the year, and two team events. 

The competition was judged by some of the region’s top chefs, including Cal Byerley, Great British Menu winner and chef at Michelin-starred Restaurant Pine, Ken Thompson and Chris Dobson of 21 Group, and Dave Kennedy and Tom Connor from St. James' Park. 

Paige White, currently studying a Foundation Degree in Culinary Arts, won gold in the ‘Sugarcraft: Gateaux’ category (entry below). She said: “I was so nervous about this competition as it’s such a big deal in the industry. I really wanted to do well so I practiced loads. I also got some advice from last year’s Sugarcraft category winner, Angela Newsome. She was really helpful, she gave me some good tips so that I could go in feeling prepared.” 

Newcastle College’s Catering and Hospitality Programme Leader, Mal Farmer said: "These are tough, industry-standard competitions, and all of our students put in a lot of extra hours on top of their studies preparing for them.   

“We have peer-mentored previous winners and alumni to prepare students for the challenge, and all our 2024 cohort of student competitors have done us proud.   

“There is always great interest amongst the students when we announce NECTA and this generates competition amongst the students in-house through the cook-off sessions prior to establishing which student competes on stage.  The competition provides our students with a fantastic platform to showcase their skills, not only against other colleges but also to a professional audience.” 

All competing Newcastle College students received a certificate, and those who placed in Gold were also gifted a gold pin badge and top-of-the-range Japanese knife set to mark their achievement. 

Congratulations to all Newcastle College winners, listed in full below: 


  • Knife Skills and Veg Prep - Haesten Godson, Level 2 
  • Sugarcraft: Gateaux - Paige White, Level 4 
  • Patisserie: Mille Fuille - Kristie Huthart, Level 3 
  • Prep and Cook: Fish - Isla-Marie Hedley, Level 2 
  • Prep and Cook: Chicken - Henry Willcox, Level 3 
  • Team Event - Front of House Award - Daisy Stonebanks, Level 2 
  • Young Mixologist - Phoebe Jackson, Level 2 


  • Young Barista - Declan Dale, Level 3 
  • Hot Dessert: rhubarb - Alyssa Blows, Level 2 
  • Team Event (Front of house) - Tony Riches (staff), Ben Whiteford, Level 3 and Daisy Stonebanks, Level 2 


  • Table Setting - Beth Tindall, Level 2 
  • Team Event: Back of House Award - Tony Riches and Ben Whiteford 

Participation award: 

  • Cook: Plant Based Hot Starter - Jayden Shek, Level 2 

Find out more about Hospitality and Catering at Newcastle College