A Christmas bake-off at the Isle of Wight College gave three discerning judges a delicious festive task this week. Students in the catering department were given the challenge of producing a Christmas showstopper, which included planning and costing their masterpieces as well as baking and decorating them.
Island High Sheriff, Caroline Peel, the Royal Yacht Squadron’s head chef, Paul Wooler, and college careers adviser, Katherine Jackson, were the lucky judges and they took the role very seriously, with several cakes sampled, then resampled again “just to check” they’d got their marking spot-on.
Some of the students only joined the college in September, while others were in the third year of their course. Chef lecturer, James Butchers, said: “This project has taken them out of their comfort zone as cakes are no longer on the curriculum. We gave them a free hand to design and create the cakes and it has brought out lots of creativity and some great teamwork.”
All entries were scored on presentation and decoration, flavour, texture and creativity. The winners, with a multi-tiered chocolate and mint cake decorated with marzipan figures, were the Sprinkles team of Nicole Mills, Zoe Holdaway and Callum Silverthorne, all second-year students. They were the recipients of the giant wooden spoon and also won baking books. House Toogood were second with their creation showing Santa’s legs disappearing down an orange chimney, and a cake filled with Smarties and Maltesers. The Gingerbread Men came third with a three-tiered white cake decorated with gingerbread men around the lower tier.
Caroline Peel said: “They’ve done really well, especially as some students have only been here three months. They’ve made a few mistakes, which they will no doubt learn from. There are some very artistic creations and lovely looking cakes. The students clearly take a lot of pride in their work.”
Paul Wooler added: “I’ve been impressed by the inventiveness and the quality of ideas and the way they’ve turned them into reality. A number of the cakes have some very ingenious surprises. Some real Christmas showstoppers!”