On Tuesday 10th September, Old Nottinghamian and MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 Winner Laurence Henry (ON 2004-2010) came back to School to officially open our new Food & Nutrition Room. Laurence spent the day inspiring the students with his culinary skills and showing them how to make some of his own recipes.

The lunchtime club students made pancakes with varying results (see our Flickr album below!) and in the afternoon twelve Year 11 food students took part in a MasterChef challenge. Their dishes included pan roast white Cod and crushed potatoes with an Asian spiced bisque, as well as strawberry and chocolate torte.

Laurence’s visit garnered lots of local press interest, and was covered on the Nottingham Post, Notts TV, BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC East Midlands Today.

Year 11 students Sophie, Ritika and Joe wrote the following report of the day:

On Tuesday 10th September, the Year 11 food students took part in a MasterChef challenge, directed by ON Laurence Henry. Split up into random partners, not only did we have to tackle the difficult dishes set by Laurence, but we quickly had to learn how to communicate as a partnership and work together effectively as we were under a lot of time pressure. We watched Laurence make different sections of the dishes and then went back to our benches and attempted to recreate what he did. The first dish was pan roast white cod and crushed potatoes, surrounded by an Asian spiced bisque. Firstly, we had to make the crab and lobster bisque, as it needed to simmer for an hour later. This was very different from what we’ve ever done before as none of us had ever used seafood in our dishes, let alone the seafood bones. Another interesting part was flambé-ing the bisque, with
Laurence’s assistance.

As the bisque was simmering, we made a start on the dessert, which was strawberry and chocolate torte. To begin this, we had to make a chocolate Jaconde sponge. As soon as this was in the oven, we had to make a start on the chocolate mousse. At this point, we all became very time pressured and stressed as we had to do about three jobs at once to ensure our dish was completed. We had to make the crushed potatoes, assemble the tortes and put them in the blast chiller, with enough time to set, and pan roast the cod to perfection. Stressful was an understatement. Then it came down to the important decorating and assembling. Each pair was doing their best to present their dishes the best they could, to impress the judges: Headmaster, Mr Fear; Assistant head, Mrs Simpson; Laurence Henry; and the school’s catering manager, Moz.

Despite it being one of the most stressful and time pressured things we have ever done, everyone had an amazing experience. Having a MasterChef: The Professionals winner taste your food was certainly a privilege. The winners, Sophie and Olly, runners up, Jacob and Dilip and third place, Joe and Matthew, received a MasterChef book and some chocolates so we can continue to create amazing dishes at home. It was certainly a day we will never forget