IT was an evening to celebrate fine dining of the highest quality when The Restaurant at BCoT played host to its first guest chef of the year.

Phil Yeomans, a former catering and hospitality student at BCoT, completed his course in 1999 to start his career at Lainston House Hotel in Winchester.

He moved on to London to expand his skill base, working at the Soho House Hotel, The Dorchester and the Fifth Floor at Harvey Nichols.

He also worked in New York and Bermuda before returning to Lainston to become its head chef at the age of 23.

“It is always great to return to BCoT and see my former tutor Ian Pitt and the team,” said Phil.

“This is where it all began for me. I hope that by working with the students, it will show them what can be achieved if you are committed, have a passion for food, and of course, work hard.”

During the day and into the evening, Level 3 Hospitality students worked alongside Phil to prepare the highest quality cuisine.

The menu for the evening included:

  • Artichoke, king oyster and black garlic 
  • Tasting of duck, fig, blackberry and hazelnut
  • Scallop, crab, squid and razor clams
  • Pork three ways, smoked mash, choucroute and swede
  • Apple and vanilla kalamanzie
  • Coconut, rum, raisins and pineapple.

“This is such a fantastic opportunity for us to learn from a true culinary master,” said student Hadyn Mortimore.

“We are working with different foods, new tastes, textures and concepts. It is so inspiring.”

Another student, Spencer Brown, was amazed to see the amount of detail and skill Phil puts into producing his food.

He said: “Phil is a perfectionist – his work is extraordinary.

“Working with him really does show where this course can take you. There are no boundaries if you are as talented and passionate as Phil.”

Impressed with the students, Phil said: “BCoT set me up for my career. It taught me how the industry responds and reacts to customer demand, which is reflected in the facilities and cooking styles the students use today.

“Everything here is very modern and up-to-date with the industry, which is vital. Ian is amazing – I can’t speak highly enough of him. He puts 110 per cent into everything he does and really cares about the quality of food served, and how the students produce it.

“The hospitality teachers here at BCoT prove why they were awarded ‘Outstanding’ status by Ofsted.

“They motivate and encourage students to be the best they can, pushing them to the limits in professional cookery.”