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On Wednesday 15 October, I went on a catering trip to the Sodexo Salon Culinaire at Ascot racecourse. When we got there we were told all about Ascot’s catering facilities and how they work and we were told that unbelievably some 6,000 staff work on any one race day and there are roughly 90 chefs in the kitchens.

Then we had a talk by Paul Rankin, an Irish Michelin starred chef, who is also on TV. He told us that when he left school he had no interest in food at all. It was only when he went travelling and needed more money that he got a job as a waiter and only then did his interest in food start. He got up very early to help out the chefs with the tasks they didn't want to do such as the peeling of vegetables and he made his way up the career ladder from there. Eventually he set up his own restaurant in Belfast and gained his first Michelin star there too.

Later on in the day Paul also did the Omelette Challenge which included whisking and cooking eggs to an edible standard. Incredibly, he did that all in 6.78 seconds. Then Paul cooked for us in a demonstration and cooked some of his favourite foods. He did a re-take on a Scotch egg but used fish instead!

Afterwards we were able to walk around the main building where many live competitions were on-going and trying out many different ranges of food from the providers of Sodexo. There were foods such as pulled pork, gourmet hot-dogs, stir-fry, stuffed pittas, a huge chocolate stand (which was definitely our favourite), Mexican chili burritos and also foods from Reggae Reggae. All of the foods we were able to taste were absolutely delicious.

Throughout the day I learnt that there are so many exciting and original ways in which you can present your food. Paul Rankin said that when it comes to serving, that less on the plate is actually more. I also saw some new ideas of which ingredients go well together and also some recipes that are easy to cook but make outstanding meals.
Jack Grover, 10E


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