Chef Marco Pierre White served up platefuls of inspiration for catering students at Chichester College when he spent the day in their company.
And there were plenty of nerves in the kitchen when the students – some of whom have been on their course for only two weeks – had to cook and then serve a three-course lunch for the triple Michelin-starred chef.
The chef signed students’ course books and posed for pictures with them, and then enjoyed a lunch of tomato soup with fresh cream and handmade bread, a main course of beef bourgignon with rice, and a lemon sorbet for dessert.
After lunch he then visited the kitchens and chatted with students as they went about their practical lessons.
The star visit came about when catering lecturer Geoff Sutton took his family to Wheeler’s at the King’s Arms in Fernhurst, which is owned by the chef.
While Geoff was at the bar, his son spotted the chef in the garden and Geoff decided to seize the opportunity.
“The students were mesmerised,” he said.
“He spoke very quietly and they listened very intensely.
“I really do think it will inspire some of them.”
Catering student Luke Grattan, 17, who wants to run his own kitchen or own his own hotel, helped make dessert for the visit.
He said he had been inspired to become a chef thanks to Gordon Ramsey and Marco Pierre White and it had been one of his dreams to meet him.
“It was quite enjoyable, I was excited to meet him and it’s given me more motivation,” he said.
Emma Williams, on the hospitality and supervision Level 3 course, was part of the team serving the chef and staff in the college’s Goodwood Restaurant.
“We had to make sure everyone had everything they needed,” she said. “It was a bit scary, but it was very inspiring.”
Just before he left Marco said he had tried to impart some of his philosophy.
He described the students as being ‘very polite, courteous and patient’ and said the college’s lecturers did a very good job.
“I said to them perfection is lots of little things done well, strategy will compensate for talent, but talent will not compensate for strategy and one of my beliefs is success is born out of luck – luck is being given an opportunity.
“Being accepted into Chichester College is an opportunity – it’s now for them to realise the opportunity they have been given.”