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Catering students help Hampton Hill's little chefs

Monday 18 March 2013

Richmond upon Thames College teamed up with Hampton Hill Junior School between 5-14 March, as students Helen Gale and Luis Mulraine assisted with an innovative restaurant project involving over 90 pupils.

The entire Year 4 group at the junior school were challenged with the task of setting up and running their own restaurant for two weeks – catering to parents, staff and the local community. They were involved in all parts of the initiative, from buying the food, publicising the event, cooking, serving and budgeting.

Helen and Luis, both studying NVQ's in professional cookery at Richmond upon Thames College, volunteered to help in the kitchen after the school contacted the College looking for experienced trainees to work alongside head chef, Janey Orr.

"Having Helen and Luis on board in the kitchen was fantastic for the children as they were both brilliant role models and teachers," said Robert Waiting, Assistant Head Teacher at Hampton Hill. "The skills they brought with them from Richmond College's training restaurant 'Merits' were invaluable and it's their hard work which made the restaurant such an enjoyable experience for the children."

Throughout the two weeks, Helen and Luis guided the pupils through a variety of world cuisine recipes, helping them to feed 40 people a day and over 200 customers by the end of the initiative.

"The children were absolutely brilliant and the techniques they displayed in the kitchen were incredible," said Helen. "To see 8 and 9 year olds finely chopping fruit and veg, cooking difficult main courses like paella and making profiteroles from scratch was wonderful. Both Luis and I loved every minute of it and the whole school should be proud of their fantastic efforts."

As well as receiving Richmond College's help, the project was enthusiastically supported across the Hampton community. The children working as waiters were trained professionally by local Italian restaurant Piazza Firenze, the crockery for the restaurant was donated by Cafe Rouge, the decorations were provided by local florist Branching Out Flowers and the tablecloths donated by the local tandoori! In addition to this, all of the food purchased was from local suppliers including Robson's Butchers, Get Fresh Greengrocers and Cavan Bakery.

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