28th February 2022
South Devon College hosted the Major Series 2022 competition on Thursday 17th February which saw a huge rate of success amongst students from the College, including one of their students reaching the national finals in London.
In conjunction with The Craft Guild Culinary Academy, Major Series 2022 is the UK’s premier young chef competition. The competition is a fantastic opportunity for up-and-coming chefs to showcase their skills and get a taste for the competition arena, giving them the chance to compete against their peers and use products they will encounter in the future.
Shannon Kingdon, an apprentice employed at South Devon College working in the International Café, beat the heat of the kitchen in the Main Course class achieving ‘Best in Class’ with a Silver award.
During the award ceremony, this particular class was revealed to be the one that would send the winner off to the national finals where Shannon will be cooking for Michel Roux Jnr in London in front of 300-400 people.
Talking about the experience, Shannon said: “It’s been stressful, but I’ve enjoyed the experience. I made pan fried duck breast with a veal and port jus, served with caramelised orange beetroot, blanched courgette and Rosti sweet potato with thyme. I spent just over a month preparing for today, practising with David Wells (college tutor) helping me and then also by myself but today is the fourth time I’ve ever made this dish.”
Excited about what the future holds for her, she continued: “I just want to be a really good chef and get experience in every area possible. I want to discover what I’m into by trying everything first, and this level of restaurant style cooking is where I see myself going where the preparing, cooking, and presenting is more of an art. But for now, I’ve got some planning to do for the final!”
Other students from the College experienced great success in the competition too. After receiving a gold medal and ‘Best in Class’ for Bakery, Bethany Mason said: “There was a lot of pressure but it was really fun. I baked a range of bread; spring onion and cheddar cheese, onion and rosemary, olive and green herb, and beetroot and apple. I’ve really enjoyed seeing what everyone else has done as well. There are some really creative things here.”
What’s important to note is that the tutors saw success as more than the awards that were won, but the journey students have been on to get there.
Cam Smith started his journey at the College far less confident than he is now after the competition where he won a silver award in the Street Food class for his apple and hickory smoked pork burger with red onions and bok choy, with a garlic and mayonnaise sauce.
“Today has been phenomenal. It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my career, but I think it’s really paid off. When I first heard my name being announced, my heart dropped, but then I heard ‘silver medal’ and I thought ‘I actually got that!’
“Andrew helped me practise my burger and I’ve also had loads of help from my amazing friends to get here and carry on at College. I will definitely be staying in touch with everyone here in the future. Going forward, there’s nowhere to go but up.”
David Wells, catering lecturer at South Devon College, facilitated the competition being held at the college. He said: “It was great to have the Major Series competition return after restrictions prevented students getting involved over the last two years. But the standards have remained exceptional with students entering new class culinary classifications and demonstrating their skills and knowledge. All the students made an amazing effort. Shannon winning her place in the national finals shows how an apprenticeship, combining workplace and college learning, develops a high standard for the industry, students’ skills and helps build personal confidence and progress.”
The College competed with students from Exeter College across the 8 different classes that make up the competition, but South Devon College students led the way securing 6 gold, 11 silver, and 10 bronze medals, with 5 of those being awarded ‘Best in Class’.
A huge congratulations is deserved to every student that took part and impressed all the judges with their talent. It was an exciting event to be a part of and the food that was produced was exquisite.