A chef who trained at Westminster Kingsway College has won the Craft Guild of Chefs’ prestigious National Chef of the Year competition.
Ben Murphy, who is Chef Patron at Launceston Place in Kensington, scooped the top prize at a celebratory dinner at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge attended by VIPs from the hospitality world, including Gordon Ramsay who won the competition in 1992.
April Lily Partridge, who also studied at WestKing and is Sous Chef at The Ledbury in Notting Hill, came third in the competition, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Ben served a menu of butter poached pollock, radish and oscietra followed by Lake District young fallow, watercress, onion and batek pepper, and a dessert of clementine, honey, tahitensis vanilla and yoghurt.
In an interview with the Craft Guild of Chefs at the ceremony, he said: “Winning National Chef of the Year is crazy. Seeing the standard of food today, I didn’t expect to win at all. As I said to my friends and family, I’m going to cook the food I do daily, cook food I love to eat and hope for the best.
“I was confident and in my comfort zone and felt happy with what I did. I felt I did enough, but I wasn’t sure because afterwards we got the chance to view other dishes and I saw the calibre of the chefs I was against and the level of food they were cooking.”
Ben was presented with an exclusively designed winners plate framed together with the winner’s medal from Churchill Catering, along with £500 worth of products.
He also received a cash prize of £2,500 from Knorr Professional to support his career development along with a chef experience from Continental Chef Supplies including Michelin-starred restaurants, masterclasses and artisan food classes.
Each of the finalists have also been given the chance to enjoy culinary dining experiences with well-known Michelin-starred or award-winning restaurants across the UK.
The competition was judged by a panel of professional chefs chaired by Kenny Atkinson, Chef Patron at House of Tides and Solstice in Newcastle.
He said: “Wow, what a final, with an incredible winner! I’ve absolutely loved my first year as Chair of judges and seeing the calibre of cooking we’ve witnessed today has been the highpoint.
“The brief I set, purposely left the menus open to individual interpretation so that we could clearly see each chef’s personality, skill and talent so we’ve tasted some amazing food today. Congratulations to all the finalists and well done to Ben.
“To the other nine chefs, I want to see you learn from this experience and come back next year, more determined than ever.”
Competition organiser David Mulcahy, Food Innovation and Sustainability Director at Sodexo UK and Ireland added: “The reason this competition has spanned half a century is down to the way we have developed it year on year to address the industry’s biggest issues and attracted the highest level of talent to enter and judge this competition.
“I know that Ben is joining a long list of incredible chefs who have become real ambassadors for our industry.”
The Craft Guild of Chefs is the largest UK chefs’ association with members worldwide in food service and hospitality, from students and trainees to top management, working everywhere from Michelin-starred restaurants to school catering.
WestKing alumnus, actor and comedian, Babatunde Aléshé, is getting off his Celebrity Gogglebox sofa and is off to Australia as one of the stars taking part in ITV’s smash prime-time hit show, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Babatunde is one of Britain’s brightest black comedians. He studied Performing Arts at WestKing from 2002 to 2005 and is dreading the trials that he’s likely to face in the jungle. He told ITV that it took several attempts to persuade him to join I’m a Celebrity… because he is filled with horror at the prospect of rats, snakes and cockroaches being poured over him.
“I am going to see what happens but I know I will be doing a lot of screaming for sure,” he said.
Good luck Babatunde!
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! starts on Sunday 6 November at 9pm on ITV. You can follow Babatunde’s exploits in the jungle – and vote for him – on ITV, online and on social media (#ImACeleb). You can find out more about his fellow contestants here.
Students shared their views on tackling racism with a black Metropolitan Police officer during a series of events at Capital City College Group (CCCG) to mark Black History Month.
Inspector Chris Excell, who has served the Met for 15 years, was among the guests invited to give talks to students at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).
Insp Excell shared his experience of being a black police officer, a brief history of black police officers in Britain and his role as the Chair of the Black Police Association at the Met.
Students at CONEL also heard from Corporal Nyerere St John who spoke about being a black soldier in the British Army and gave his advice on careers in the Armed Forces.
There were also talks and presentations on black history, the slave trade, Marie Seacole, black Olympians, black footballers, black scientists and inventors, black hair and beauty, black music and the screening of a documentary on the Windrush generation.
City and Islington College (CANDI) hosted a Chat and Chillax session where students took part in a discussion about Black History Month, what it means to them, why it is important and ways to tackle racism in society.
Students also participated in workshops where they wrote positive affirmations to promote more tolerance in society on leaf-shaped pieces of paper that were then stuck to a large picture of a ‘tree of hope’ for their peers to read.
Among the uplifting messages placed on the tree were ‘Everyone is allowed to live freely’, ‘Respect each other’, ‘Love each other’ and ‘Educate ourselves and others.’
The atrium at Westminster Kingsway College’s King’s Cross Centre was adorned with flags from countries around the world to represent the diversity of its staff and students.
Students heard talks from guest speakers from BAME backgrounds including entrepreneur Tlwalola Ogunles, youth mentor Luke Malillah, actor and presenter Jordan Kensington, social mobility advocate Kevin Osei, property investor TJ Atkinson and WestKing administrator Lorna Blackman.
They were also encouraged to read books by black authors in the college’s Learning Resource Centre including Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and Slay in Your Lane by Elizabeth Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené.
There were screenings off Becoming, the documentary on life of former US First Lady Michelle Obama, and Rocks, a drama about a black teenage girl and her brother in Hackney whose mum abandons them, forcing them to try and avoid being taken into social care.
Music students also put on live performances of their own songs inspired by black music.
CCCG runs many enrichment activities across its three colleges for students personal and professional development. Find out more about Student Life at WestKing here.
With the academic year well under way, Year 11 students are now settling into their final year of school and knuckling down ahead of their GCSEs next summer.
Many will also be thinking about their future, and it is important for them to realise that staying on at school sixth form is not the only or always the best option.
Here’s six fantastic reasons why they should choose Westminster Kingsway College (WestKing) over school when it comes to taking the next step in their education.
- A bigger choice of qualifications and pathways – Whether you want to take the academic or technical route to university or employment we have the right course for you. Choose from A Levels, BTEC and City & Guilds diplomas and certificates, apprenticeships with top employers, along with our first T Levels.
- A huge range of subjects – We offer A Levels in many subjects along with courses in accounting and business, IT, creative media, art and design, construction, childcare, engineering, hospitality and culinary arts, music and performing arts, public services, science and sport.
- Students are treated like adults – There’s no ‘Yes Sir’ or ‘Yes Miss’ here. Students are often on first name terms with the teachers and given the personal responsibility for getting their work assignments done. Of course, we will still encourage, motivate and support our students to succeed.
- Make new friends – A chance to widen your social circle and get to know more people. The more you broaden your horizons, the more opportunities that are presented to you in work and life.
- Industry experienced teachers – Many of our lecturers and tutors have worked in the fields they teach and are able to share first-hand knowledge and experience to give students the professional skills and realistic expectations of their future careers.
- Fantastic enrichment and support – Students benefit from a more rounded education including trips at home and abroad, talks from industry experts, debates and workshops, competitions, community projects, sports, clubs and societies, careers advice and support with UCAS applications.
DON’T FORGET OUR OPEN DAYS
- King’s Cross Centre –Wednesday 2 November from 4.30pm to 6.30pm
- Victoria Centre (includes Soho Centre) – Monday 7 November from 4.30pm to 6.30pm
At Westminster Kingsway College we believe the cost of living should not come at the cost of your education and job prospects.
That’s why we run FREE short courses throughout the year to enable you to develop new and existing skills for your future regardless of your age or income.
Cost is one of the main barriers to learning and times are extremely tough at the moment, but there has never been a better time to learn or try something new.
Thousands of people have signed up for our FREE short courses since we started running them in 2018 and many have progressed on to full-time study with us.
And what’s more, all our full-time courses up to Level 2 and some at Level 3 are also completely FREE.
Tim Mansfield, 41, took a FREE short course in plumbing followed by a Plumbing Level 2 Diploma at WestKing’s sister college, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).
He said: “CONEL’s free short courses were exactly what I needed. They gave me the opportunity to try different trades without having to overcommit until I knew what I wanted to pursue more seriously. If they hadn’t been free, I’m not sure I would have taken the chance.
“The teachers are well-qualified and approachable, and always on hand with advice and support. I’ve made some great friends at CONEL and learnt some great skills that I fully intend to build upon in my future career. I’m excited about starting a new chapter.”
Our FREE short courses are run at our centres and online, in a wide range of subjects:
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Business and Professional Services
- Computing and IT
- Construction and Plumbing
- Digital Media and Creative Computing
- English and Maths
- Foundation and Supported Learning
- Health and Social Care
- Hospitality and Culinary Arts
- Modern Foreign Languages
- Public Services
- Teaching and Teacher Education
Find out more by searching FREE short courses and book a place at WestKing.
Book now for our Open Days at our centres King’s Cross Centre on Wednesday 2 November and Victoria Centre on Wednesday 7 November from 4.30pm to 6pm.