When around 60 guests sat down for a long lunch in Camden yesterday, the gastronomic delights on offer started with an entrée of salt and pepper calamari on a bed of Asian style salad.
It was followed with main of grilled garlic and rosemary lamb cutlets and sweet sesame chicken wings with buttered asparagus spears, sweet potato puree and lamb jus.
For dessert, these lucky guests were served white chocolate cake, dark chocolate mousse, raspberry coulis and chocolate shards.
The verdict from the guests: this was an outstanding meal.
But this food wasn’t cooked or served in one of Camden’s great restaurants.
It was all done in Camden High School by Year 11 students from Camden and Elderslie High Schools who are studying hospitality as part of their HSC.
Year 9 students who are studying early stage food and beverage also got in on the act serving the meals.
Dubbed the Camden High School Long Lunch, it came about because to meet training package requirements hospitality students are expected to work under realistic, industry-like conditions where they are menu planning, creating food orders, displaying culinary skills, meeting deadlines and working to timeframes.
Mrs Cindy Cunynghame, the head teacher of home economics at Camden High said after the conclusion of the lunch: “Today’s event was an assessment opportunity to deem the Year 11 students competent and from today’s event these students are well and truly competent.”
But the students also saw the value of such an exercise.
Isabella Mundell, who assisted with the dessert and has her sights set on becoming a pastry chef, said: “Today was great – better than a normal assignment.
“It was the first time we had cooked on a large scale and it was interesting to see how it all works and how we all worked together,” Ms Mundell said.
Work placement provider MWLP – Linking Youth sponsored the event, which was perfect for an organisation passionate about linking students to industry, training and employment pathways.
Not only that, MWLP’s work placement manager Michael Everett, also a qualified chef, worked alongside the students guiding them all the way, together with Cindy Cunynghame and teacher Rebecca Lawlor.
The last word on the Camden High School Long Lunch goes to Lyn Kenny, a senior pathway officer with the Department of Education and one of the guests at the table.
“You can tell by the looks on the student’s faces just how important it is for them to be part of a hospitality function with real customers and done in industry time frames,’’ Ms Kenny said.
“Let’s hope we see more young people join the hospitality industry.”