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International Recognition for Reaseheath’s Food Centre

Reaseheath College’s Food Centre in Cheshire has gained a globally recognised Grade A certification for food safety from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for the third successive year.  The college remains the first and only educational institution in Britain to achieve the accreditation for BRC issue 7, the latest benchmark for best practice in food manufacture.

The quality mark was approved after an exacting repeat audit showed that Reaseheath’s food manufacturing systems continue to operate under highly controlled conditions and to the highest industry standards. Areas inspected included food safety procedures, cleanliness of the facility, knowledge of staff and students and the traceability of food ingredients.

The successful bid was led by Reaseheath’s newly appointed Quality Assurance Manager Shaun Whitlock, who said: “Any changes to the BRC standards are a difficult time for industry, however the college has taken this head on and achieved the results we wanted. Changes to the standard include stricter supplier management, labelling control and prevention of food fraud.

“The team has worked extremely hard to ensure we can deliver the best possible service to our students and local businesses and should be congratulated on their success.  Thanks to their hard work, we can ensure the ever changing standards followed within industry are replicated in a controlled learning environment.”

As well as Shaun’s appointment, the Food Centre’s team has been reinvigorated with the promotion of Nick Blakemore to Food Centre Manager from Curriculum Manager, and the recruitment of Emily Fisher as the new commercial development manager. Emily, who has previously been employed by several blue chip companies, is working closely with national and international businesses on food trials and training. Julie Bent has been promoted to Commercial Development Co-Ordinator.

There have also been some major renovations to the bakery to allow the introduction of a Bakery and Patisserie foundation degree.

Reaseheath’s £7 million Food Centre was opened in 2011 and remains one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

Built to exacting standards and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists recruited directly from the food industry, the centre has dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery, cake design and confectionery. Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the facilities for new product development, technical advice or staff training. These partnerships lead to work experience and job opportunities for the college’s food technology students. The college also offers training sessions to members of the public which include cake decoration, HACCP and food safety.

For further details see www.reaseheathfoodcentre.com

Caption: Shaun Whitlock and other members of the processing halls team celebrate gaining BRC7

Triple gold for Reaseheath at Nantwich International Cheese Show

Reaseheath College trained dairy technologists struck gold three times at the record breaking Nantwich International Cheese Show.

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David presents the Student Cheesemaker award to Sarah Hinchliffe and Sam Clarke

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David presents the Student Cheesemaker award to Sarah Hinchliffe and Sam Clarke

The students, who are studying on the Nantwich college’s unique Eden programme, took gold awards in the Specialist Cheesemakers section in classes for cheddar and crumbly territorial cheeses and also won the highly competitive Student Cheesemaker class.

They also took a further silver and two highly commended awards in the Student Cheesemaker class and a highly commended in the open cheddar cheese class.

The Eden programme is a unique, ground breaking, education initiative driven and supported by leading dairy companies who recognise the importance of investing in talented employees.

The technicians attend Reaseheath on a block release basis to study for an internationally recognised Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology which includes practical training in the college’s industry standard dairy processing halls. They spend the rest of their time extending their experience in the workplace.

Matt Salt assists Peter Sidwell on the Cathedral City stand

Matt Salt assists Peter Sidwell on the Cathedral City stand

Now in its seventh year and delivered exclusively by Reaseheath, the three year course covers relevant topics ranging from dairy chemistry and microbiology to cheesemaking.

The cheese show this year attracted record entries and the students’ entries were up against world class competition. The Student Cheesemaker class was newly sponsored by Reaseheath College.

Said course manager Debbie Heritage-Brill: “We were delighted at the success of our students, particularly against such strong competition from within the industry.”

Apart from competing, the Eden students demonstrated the process of cheesemaking at the show, giving families the chance to see how the nation’s favourite food is produced.

Celebrity chef James Martin with commis chefs Elysha Emberson and Kieran McLean

Celebrity chef James Martin with commis chefs Elysha Emberson and Kieran McLean

Three students who have just completed their Level 3 Diploma in Bakery and Patisserie supported celebrity chefs James Martin, Will Holland, Jonathan Harrison, Sean Wilson and Peter Sidwell as they demonstrated how to cook tasty dishes in the international cheese marquee.

Elysha Emberson, Kieran McLean and Matt Salt worked as commis chefs, preparing ingredients and cooking equipment for the chefs as they cooked in front of an appreciative audience.

Elysha said: “It was very interesting working with the chefs and being part of the action. It was a really good experience and a great thing to put on your CV.”

 

Reaseheath welcomes Czech dairy students

A few weeks ago Reaseheath became home to a group of 13 dairy students and a tutor from the Czech Republic for two weeks.

The students have been enjoying an Agri-Food study visit funded by the European Erasmus+ VET programme, which aims to promote vocational educational training within the European community.

Our visitors spent three days with our Agriculture team milking cows, lambing and learning some basic theory about UK agriculture. They then joined our Food Department for a week, where they learnt some fundamentals about meat, dairy, and bakery technology. This included a variety of practical sessions to support their learning, including making soft cheeses, butter, lemon curd and croissants – they certainly ate well!

 

The group with Agriculture Programme Leader Iain Clarke and lecturer Alan Brown.

The group with Agriculture Programme Leader Iain Clarke and lecturer Alan Brown.

The students, ages 18-20, stayed in Platt Hall, our newest student halls of residence. For nine it was their first time in England, so this not only gave them a taste of life on a UK campus but also helped them develop their English language skills and gave them an appreciation of UK culture.

They also enjoyed a visit to Liverpool and its many museums and arts centres. Their final day was particularly memorable, with the solar eclipse ending their stay.

The students are all final year students at VOSP SPSM Kromeriz, a specialist dairy college several hours from Prague. We hope this visit will be the first of many – and plans are already afoot to arrange a return visit for our students in the near future.

Kathy Merrett, Food Programme Leader

A thoroughly foodie wedding

Food alumni James Yuill and  Rachel Frankish wed at Reaseheath Hall

We are delighted to announce the food department’s first wedding – James Yuill and Rachel Frankish, who tied the knot on November 1st .

James joined Reaseheath in Key Stage Four as a young apprentice and Rachel joined the food technology diploma group a couple of years later.

They both enrolled on the Foundation Degree in Food Technology with Management at Reaseheath in September 2010 and  their friendship blossomed into romance in January 2011.

James and Rachel cut their wedding cake - designed by cake decorating expert and alumnus Sam Copeland

James and Rachel cut their wedding cake – designed by cake decorating expert and alumnus Sam Copeland

weddingOn October 13th  2012,  James proposed (on bended knee) in front of family and friends at Rachel’s birthday meal. The tears flowed as much as the wine – especially when she accepted!

The whole department waited with anticipation for the wedding date. But they were just too busy studying and researching!  Their studies came to an end though and they both gained their BSc (Hons) in Food Technology with Management in September 2013. James started a new position at Carton Lodge Cheese and the couple moved to Clitheroe. Rachel has since secured a position at Farmers Fayre.

Wedding plans started with gusto and the couple booked Reaseheath Hall for their ceremony. They said they wouldn’t want to be married anywhere else. It was a gorgeous ceremony for two outstanding people who have made Reaseheath proud. The couples family, friends and Reaseheath lecturers attended and a good time was has by all! (and Sam did the cake!!)

We wish James and Rachel all the very best as they start their married life together.

Sam Copeland

Lecturer and Course Manager, Level 2 Diploma Bakery and Patisserie 

If you’re interested in cake decorating and are impressed by Sam’s cake decorating skills – take a look at our new Professional Cake Decorating course starting in February 2015.

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Chris Budd – BSc (Hons) Food Technology

Chris buddBSc (Hons) Food Industry with Management graduate Chris Budd is excelling in the food industry after completing his studies at Reaseheath.

Chris studied at Reaseheath for six years, beginning with a Level 3 National Diploma in Food Manufacturing and Nutrition, progressing on to a Foundation Degree and finally ‘topping-up’ to graduate with a 2:1 in his BSc (Hons) in Food Industry and Management.

During his time at Reaseheath, Chris gained invaluable experience both on campus and out in industry, working in creameries and retail professionals.

After completing his degree, Chris successfully landed a job within the Samworth Brothers Group in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, as a Process Development Technologist at Kettleby Foods. His role involved supporting all departments in the concept, trialling and launching of high quality ready-meals for retail.

Chris commented, “working in the ‘Fast Moving Consumer Goods’ (FMCG) industry has its challenges, but offers great variation, from attending customer panels, to managing factory trials, to visiting suppliers – which ensures no day is ever the same”.

“I believe that I had the best preparation I could have from Reaseheath, and I am confident that the skills and knowledge gained has set me up for a long and prosperous career in the food industry.”

Chris has recently progressed in his career further, securing a new job as a Product Development Manager at Covent Garden Soup Company.

You can find out more about degrees in food at Reaseheath here.

 

 

 

 

Reaseheath burgers get top marks for taste

Innovative burgers made by food technology students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich have won bronze awards in the first round of the EBLEX ‘England’s Best Burger Challenge’

The recipes for the minted lamb and chilli beef burgers were designed by Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology and Management students as part of their studies in meat science. The burgers were then made by Foundation Level 1 Food Preparation and Cooking students.

EBLEX represents the beef and lamb industry in England and runs the prestigious competition biannually as part of its campaign to boost quality and innovation. The aim is to find the most succulent, tender and tasty burgers in the country.

The contest is open to any catering or butchery establishment and this year attracted record entries from throughout England. This was the first time that Reaseheath had submitted an entry.  The students had to follow strict guidelines and control measures and the burgers were tested in raw and cooked form.

Butchery lecturer Doug Ewen, who oversaw and submitted the entries, said: “This was a fantastic result for the students as there is no guarantee that you will receive any award, especially on the first attempt. It was an excellent achievement which the student can add to their CVs and which will help them as they progress into their chosen careers.”

Competition organiser Hugh Judd, EBLEX Food Service Project Manager, said: “The quality of entries this year was very high. Reaseheath students did extremely well, particularly as they were competing against entries from the whole of the burger sector.” 

Reaseheath is launching a new Level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery course, aimed at school leavers, in September. The college’s Food Centre is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe. Built to industry standards and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the £7.3million facilities include a butchery production area.

Find out more about our new Butchery course here.

Chancellor applauds plans for cutting edge Food Futures Centre

George Osborne cuts the first sod for the National Centre for Food Futures and the Environment, watched by Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David, MP Stephen O’Brien, MEP candidate Kevin Beaty  and Martin Smout, executive chairman of construction partner GB Building Solutions.

George Osborne cuts the first sod for the National Centre for Food Futures and the Environment, watched by Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David, MP Stephen O’Brien, MEP candidate Kevin Beaty and Martin Smout, executive chairman of construction partner GB Building Solutions.

Chancellor George Osborne has congratulated Reaseheath College’s efforts to help food producers meet the challenge of world population growth and climate change.

Cutting the first sod on the site of a £8.5 million National Centre for Food Futures and the Environment, Mr Osborne said: “Reaseheath College is rightly renowned for the quality of the education it provides, especially in the agriculture industry. I always want to try to provide funding for projects like this.

“One of the key elements of our long-term economic plan is to deliver the best schools and skills for young people  in all sectors so the next generation can succeed in the global race.”

The Chancellor chats to members of the Reaseheath’s Student Association.

The Chancellor chats to members of the Reaseheath’s Student Association.

The industry-led project will enable the Nantwich, Cheshire, college to support the government’s agri-tech strategy, which aims to make the UK a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, through the Skills Funding Agency, has allocated £5.8m of capital grant for the project.  The remainder has come directly from the college.

The building will provide a national centre for horticultural production, environmental management and conservation and renewable energy, and will be the leading one of its type in the country. It will include a visitor and interpretation centre and a schools unit and is the latest of a string of world class facilities to be built on campus.

In a second project, the college, in partnership with Cheshire East Council, is to develop a state-of-the-art centre for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. This £1.5m project, funded by the Education Funding Agency, will develop desperately needed specialist facilities for students from the Cheshire East area.

Both developments are to be sited on the former college golf course. The buildings have been designed with considerable input from industry advisors and are planned to be open for students and the public by September 2015.

George Osborne chats to arboriculture students.

George Osborne chats to arboriculture students.

The college also intends to reconstruct its existing turf based sports pitches and build new 3G and multi-use artificial sports areas. A sports centre for use by both students and the local community is also planned. This will cater for grass based team sports and sports requiring an artificial playing surface such as hockey, as well as offering  a six court sports hall, team changing facilities and a fitness centre.

Space released by the relocation of the horticulture department has been earmarked for further halls of residence, with construction planned to start this summer.
 

Vice Principal Dave Kynaston, George Osborne, Stephen O'Brien

George Osborne with Reaseheath Vice Principal Dave Kynaston and MP Stephen O’Brien.

Welcoming the Chancellor’s visit, Principal Meredydd David said that Reaseheath was delighted to be involved in the development of another world class educational facility.

He said: “I am thrilled that the government has identified Reaseheath as their preferred location for investing capital to develop this national Food Futures Centre. This will ensure that Reaseheath can continue to deliver specialist technical and educational training to next generation leaders.”

Mr Osborne was accompanied on his visit by local MP Stephen O’Brien and  MEP candidate for the north west Kevin Beaty.
 
 
 
 

Young bakers’ cakes are fit for a Queen

Budding bakers from across the region were crowned winners in a hotly contested schools challenge laid down by Reaseheath’s food department.

Just ten entries from a total of 120 made it through to the final of Reaseheath’s Year 9 Schools Bake Off Competition, which was held in our specialist Food Centre last week. Contestants had to bake a cake or pastry with a royal theme.

The judging panel, made up of professional chef Brian Mellor, Cheshire WI judge Mary Hignett and Peter Wright, Chairman of sponsors the Wrights Pies Food Group, were looking for originality, presentation and taste.

The competition attracted entries from 45 secondary schools in five counties. Teams of our food technologists selected the finalists after visiting schools throughout Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Wirral and mid Wales to view and taste the cakes and to test the knowledge of the young bakers. These contestants had already won through from a first round consisting of a mood board with photos of the finished product.

Winner Charlotte Parton with her entry ‘Fit for a Queen’

Winner Charlotte Parton with her entry ‘Fit for a Queen’

Overall winner was Charlotte Parton, 13, from the Grove School, Market Drayton, who won a £100 cash prize plus two iPads for her school. Charlotte’s entry ‘Fit for a Queen’, was a Victoria sponge decorated with hand crafted butter biscuits shaped like soldiers and topped with a sugar crown. Second place went to a coconut and cherry cake made by Megan Glover and Louise Brown from Stockport School and third was a sponge decorated with roses made by Sam Platt and Lily Peachment from Cransley School, Northwich.

Stockport School’s Megan Glover and Louise Brown with their coconut crown

Stockport School’s Megan Glover and Louise Brown with their coconut crown

Other finalists were Charlotte Hesketh from Sandbach High School, Alex Thacker and Nicola Stockdale from Manchester High School for Girls, Izzy Burton and Anna Davies from The Marches School, Oswestry,  Elain Wyn and Elin Evans from Llanfyllin High School and Fiona Collins from Cheadle Hulme School.

Styled on the hit TV programme ‘The Great British Bake-Off’, Reaseheath’s competition was so popular that we plan to repeat it next year, this time with a savoury meat theme.

Mary Hignett said: “We have just witnessed the bakers of the future, all of whom have very good technical ability and excellent skills. Their cakes had wonderful textures and flavours. The standards were so high that it was very difficult for us to select the top three.  In our opinion, all the finalists were winners.

“Reaseheath’s food department should be congratulated on running such an inspired and exciting competition.”

Reaseheath Food Curriculum Manager Nick Blakemore, who led the project, said: “We were amazed at the pupils’ novel ideas. It was a very hard job to select the finalists because each entry had something to bring to the table. It was even harder to select the winners!”

Charlotte, a keen home baker, said: “I wanted to make my cake original and I tried out lots of ideas at home and at school. The competition was brilliant fun and I got great feedback from the judges. It’s made me even keener to look at food science as a career.”

You can find out more about our Patisserie and Bakery courses here.

International recognition for Reaseheath College’s Food Centre

Reaseheath College’s Food Centre has become the first and only educational institution in Britain to achieve an internationally recognised British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification.

The £7million Food Centre, which is on the Nantwich, Cheshire, college’s campus, has been awarded a Grade A BRC, the highest possible quality mark within the food industry’s global standard for food safety.

The unique certification was approved after a robust two day audit showed that the department’s food manufacturing systems were operating under highly controlled conditions and to the highest industry standards. Areas inspected included hygiene procedures, cleanliness of the facility, food safety controls, quality systems and the traceability of food ingredients.

The accolade is particularly prestigious as many food businesses strive, but never achieve, the elusive BRC standard at Grade A. The successful bid was led by Reaseheath Technical Manager Katharina Vogt.

Food Centre Head Toni-Anne Harrison said: “This was a tremendous achievement, gained through hard work and dedication and by an understanding of how these procedures and practices underpin everything that we do in the Food Centre.

“I am extremely proud to head up such a fantastic team, where individuals from both the commercial and educational worlds work so tirelessly together to move the department forwards.

Our students are now fully immersed in industry standards and practices, and understand the value that is placed on ensuring these standards are both maintained and continuously moved forwards.

“This certification will lead to increased exposure to  blue chip companies, many of which are already clients and partners, and this will create enormous opportunities for our students. It will also further strengthen Reaseheath College’s reputation for being at the forefront of teaching and learning within the food sector.”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David added : “This has been a tremendous achievement, as only the very best companies achieve BRC Grade A status. This certification proves that our Food Centre has a deep understanding of the industry it serves. It will bring the department tremendous credence and will heighten our standing within the food industry.”

Reaseheath’s Food Centre was opened in 2011 and is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

Built to the exacting standards required by industry and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the facilities include dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery and confectionery. Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the bespoke food halls for new product development or staff training.

For further details see www.reaseheathfoodcentre.com or contact (training enquiries) Julie Bent E: julieb@reaseheath.ac.uk or (commercial enquiries) Katherine Tunnicliffe E: katherinet@reaseheath.ac.uk