Catering & Hospitality at City College

City CollegeFongtastic Food recently contacted Southampton City College about their Catering & Hospitality course which they offer to school leavers. They kindly put us in touch with one of their upcoming graduates, Kenneth Williams, who spoke to us about the positive experiences he gained from missing out on university in order to learn how to cook some of the best food he had ever tasted in his lifetime.

What is your favourite thing to eat and why?

My all time favourite would would have to be a rack of roast lamb cooked to perfection because there’s nothing like a nice big plate of hardcore protein to end your day. I would of course have some veg with it too though, I don’t think a meal’s a meal without something green!

Do you have a signature dish?

I’ve been told I make the most incredible dauphinoise potatoes but if we’re talking an actual meal, I’d probably say I do a pretty decent beef wellington.

Why are you passionate about food?

I could eat for a family of five so I thought I better get some skills, better learn how to cook because I’ll never be able to afford to eat out enough to make me happy!

In regards to cooking, do you have a role model or someone you look up to?

It’s awfully cheesy but nothing beats your mum’s cooking, so I’d have to say that my mum is massive role model to me. When I didn’t get the GCSE grades I was hoping for, she was the one that sat me down properly and helped me through all the options I had. She encouraged me to try catering because she believed in me and thought I could do well if I put my heart and soul into it.

What have you already learnt from the course and what do you hope to take away from it by the end?

I went in as a complete and utter amateur and I’ve now come out with the confidence to run my own restaurant if I really wanted to. I’ve learnt everything there is to know about food, more than I could’ve ever dreamed. We started off really basic and learned how to cook an egg every way possible and now I’m cooking amazing food that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I worry though that my taste buds have become a bit too refined now as I’m pretty critical of how food is prepared and presented. When I ask for medium rare, I expect medium rare!

Why do you think others should attend a cookery school of some sort?

If you love to cook, go do catering. Don’t feel the need to jump through all the traditional academic hoops by going to university to study business or something boring like that. Catering college is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, it’s a lot of hard work but you come out with an actual skill that will get you employed.

After you finish your course, what is your ultimate goal?

I want to run my own restaurant but that unfortunately, is a long way off. I’ll probably start out at the bottom of the kitchen and work my way up. I’d love to cook abroad, somewhere like Italy or Spain because the food over there can be so much more interesting.

To learn more about City College‘s Catering & Hospitality course, please click here.

Milan Restaurant

Salmon Tagliatelle

Salmon Tagliatelle

A wander round town in search of dinner for under a tenner revealed very few choices. Not more than a hundred yards from where all of the students live in the Polygon, I stumbled upon a small Italian restaurant with a slightly garish exterior but neatly finished and surprisingly welcoming interior.

I was greeted by a very enthusiastic Italian restaurateur who managed to squeeze us in to what was a completely deserted room with about fifty covers. This was slightly unnerving as it was just after seven on a Friday night but we persevered.

After a quick scan of the menu, I found a substantial number of dishes in my price bracket. I was starving so I was very grateful when a complimentary bread roll and delicious olives were placed in front of me. Sadly, the bread was a tad dry and could have benefited from a few minutes warming in the oven.

I was not waiting long (although, the noisy drinks fridge was starting to bug me) before my Salmon Tagliatelle arrived before me. I very much enjoyed the first half of the meal before the richness of the cream sauce overwhelmed my palate and I became very full, very quickly and struggled to finish.

My total bill came to £13 which included a bottle of Peroni at £3 which I was very satisfied with seeing as most of the other restaurants along Southampton’s main street would have cost substantially more.

  • Food: 6.5/10
  • Service: 6.5/10
  • Atmosphere: 5.5/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Overall: 6.6/10

Have you eaten at the Milan Restaurant? Tweet us your experience @FongtasticFood

On the Airwaves

I have a big announcement to make which I’m pretty excited about because Fongtastic Food has made its first ever media appearance!

Faye Bennett, a multimedia journalist student at Southampton Solent University, asked if I would be interviewed for her food themed Final Major Project and I was only too happy to take part.

Have a little listen by clicking the play button below if you would like to hear me discuss the inspiration for Fongtastic Food and what I love and hate most about food in the UK.

All media enquiries should please be sent to fongtasticfood@gmail.com

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie

I swear I’m not being paid by the BBC Good Food group to promote their website but here’s another one of their amazing recipes to get your taste buds going!

Banoffee Pie really couldn’t be any easier. It’s always so much more simple to pull off than you think and always seems to end up looking absolutely scrumptious. It’s got to be one of my ultimate guilty pleasures, I reckon I could eat at least half the entire thing in one sitting.

But like all recipes, this one needs just a little bit of fiddling with!

Instead of using Hob Nobs, I much prefer sticking to the traditional Digestive biscuit because I don’t think the ‘oaty one’ gets as crispy a finish (besides, if you’re using Digestives you can pull a fast one and buy value brand biscuits which taste just the same)!

The only other thing I really want to say is that you shouldn’t be lazy and use store bought caramel! Not only does it get too thick, making your own toffee sauce tastes better, has a much better texture and is easy as pie – pun intended – to make as long as you have the patience and the eye of an eagle.

All you have to do is slowly melt 200g of sugar in a saucepan on a low heat, whisk in 100g of butter and remove from the heat. Once you’ve let it sit for roughly ten seconds, start whisking in 100ml of heavy whipping cream and viola, you’ve got yourself the tastiest toffee sauce ever!

Good luck you Fongtastic bunch of future bakers!

If you tried making a Banoffee Pie using this recipe, tweet your results @FongtasticFood

Are Dog-Friendly Restaurants Going A Step Too Far?

DogThe Bluebird Restaurant in London has announced that it will be launching a brand new dog-friendly menu as part of it’s ‘VIP Bites and Bones’ event, promising to deliver a whole range of “doggie cocktails, canapés and goodie bags”.

The Bluebird is not the only restaurant seeking to expand its market by catering to the needs of a more hairier clientèle. The Rivington Shoreditch restaurant in east London will be celebrating the Queen’s birthday by rewarding those who show up for lunch with a corgi with a free bottle of prosecco.

George, a members’ club in the capital, held a special party to launch their new dog menu last month. Model, Yasmin Le Bon, and shoe designer, Patrick Cox, brought their pets to be the first to try the canine cuisine, the proceeds from which went to the Dog’s Trust.

These events reflect one of today’s most popular trends, where owners are spending thousands of pounds spoiling and indulging their most-loved pets. But what do diners in Southampton think about the prospect of eating across from a Dalmation sipping on a Long Island Ice Tea?

How do you feel about dining alongside dogs? Tweet your opinions @FongtasticFood

FONGTASTIC Black Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Cream

Mango Rice

Helene Ng mixed things up by making this traditional Thai dessert, black sticky rice with mango and coconut cream.

If you cooked something you’re particularly proud of, please e-mail it to fongtasticfood@gmail.com