Celebrity chef James Sommerin visits CAVC

19 May 2015

Celebrity chef James Sommerin visits Cardiff and Vale College

Michelin starred chef James Sommerin came to Cardiff and Vale College this week to double mark the work of Hospitality students.

James visited the College’s Glamorgan Suite training restaurant as part of the College’s Employer Panel initiative, where industry experts check the work of students to ensure they meet the needs of their potential employers. It forms part of CAVC’s work to guarantee that its students will add instant value to an employer, rather than just making sure they have a qualification – CAVC alumni are intended to be employable and enterprising.

The proprietor of Restaurant James Sommerin in Penarth helped assess the work of Level 2 Hospitality students Megan Flanaghan, Ross Broad, Cavill Beer and Michael West. They had to prepare courses of Risotto Croquette, Mushroom Veloute topped with Julienne of Vegetables, Pot Roast Loin of Pork or Faggots and Gratin Dauphinous.

James Sommerin is four square behind the College’s Employer Panel scheme, arguing that it is vital that college’s keep up to date with industry needs to ensure that skills gaps are filled. He will host 12 masterclasses at the College’s £45m new landmark City Centre Campus in the next academic year.

“It has been hugely interesting and from an employer’s point of view extremely encouraging as well,” he said. “It must be pretty daunting for students to have somebody come in to the College from outside and mark their work but they have all done extremely well and some of their cooking has been extremely good.

“I think it’s really important for places like Cardiff and Vale College to have people from the industry come in because over the years I have found that colleges can be a little bit behind the times. But here everyone is extremely up to date and it’s been great to see some of the classical methods being used because I don’t have a classical background.”

Student Megan Flanaghan was proud to have her work double marked by James. The 17-year-old from Cardiff said: “It’s something special to have a Michelin starred chef who owns his own restaurant come in and test you on your work and your food. It’s been amazing and I think
I’ve done well.”

CAVC Deputy Head of Tourism, Hospitality, Sport and Public Services Eric Couturier added: “It’s great that James has taken time out of his busy schedule to forge a close link with Cardiff and Vale College. Over the next year he will come in to the College to deliver 12 masterclasses. This is a great new partnership and James has come in to see if our students are meeting industry standards – you can’t ask for a better marker than a Michelin starred chef!”

The College’s Principal and Chief Executive Mike James said: “At Cardiff and Vale College we do not want to be a qualification factory, simply churning out people with the right pieces of paper but no idea about the world of work. We would rather be a skills machine, making sure that everyone who progresses from our College goes out into the workplace with exactly the sort of skills and mindset that employers need.

“That is why we work so closely with employers and have set up panels to ensure that our courses offer exactly what any given industry needs. It works both ways: employers get the right people with the right skills and our students will be more ready to make the transition into their chosen vocation.”