Designed to inspire first and second year students to consider a career in the pub industry, the team from the Ruddington Arms – which won the Nottingham Post’s Nottinghamshire Food and Drink best pub award in 2017 – headed by manager Mark Anderson, showed students how to recreate their best dishes and drinks.
The cocktails and mocktails were created by the pub's head of cocktails, Grace Bond, with the menu devised by Anderson and his chefs. The offer on the night included a Granny Smith apple-tini, a seaweed sour and a salt cod, avocado, sweet chilli and crème fraiche taco small plate.
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Ruddington Arms’ Mark Anderson said: “Making drinks can and should be as creative as a cooking a meal, but sometimes drinks gets overlooked on hospitality courses. This event showed students some of the exciting and innovative flavours in pub food, cocktails and soft drinks, and I hope will inspire them to take up careers in the pub industry, which is crying out for well-trained staff.
“As an industry, we need to work hard to attract tomorrow’s talent. If you want to attract the best, you have to put in the effort. It’s worked for us, the students and the college. I would urge others to do the same because it is a win-win for all.”
Money raised from the event, which cost members of the public £21.95 per head for a menu of five cocktails, including two mocktails and five small plates, went towards funding an extra-curricular educational trip for the college’s students.
Nottingham College restaurant manager Chris Stamp said: “The students really enjoyed working alongside Mark and the award-winning Ruddington Arms team, some of whom were former students from the college.
“Last year’s gastro dinner with the Ruddington Arms brought kudos to the college and was so inspirational that we’ve repeated the format with other local hospitality businesses. The Ruddington Arms at Adams Restaurant provides invaluable hands-on experience for students learning different techniques and the latest trends that are not on their syllabus.
“Mark is incredibly supportive of the college, helping to develop and inspire students. A number have gone on to progress in their careers working in his pubs, which helps him with the skills shortage and the local hospitality industry as a whole.”
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Reece O’Flaherty, a part-time commis chef at the pub and student at Nottingham College who took part in the event, added: “We shared a lot of creativity and the students enjoyed preparing food and pairing drinks.
“A couple of students immediately asked about work experience at the Ruddington Arms. It was great because we brought the Ruddington Arms kitchen to them. They were able to see first-hand what we do. The feedback from the students and the diners was really positive. It’s events like this that inspire students.”