IT was an evening of fine dining for guests at The Restaurant at BCoT when a former student returned to become guest chef for one night only.

Chris Barnes, owner of The Crown Pub and Restaurant, in Old Basing, was a student at BCoT from 2002-03.

He went on to have a successful career as a sous chef in the award-winning Lainston House Hotel, Winchester.

Chris spent two days at the college working with Level 3 hospitality students to prepare the highest quality cuisine.

For one of these days, he was joined by another former student, Nick Hope, who is now head chef at award-winning restaurant The Crab at Chieveley.

Highlights of the six-course menu included:

  • Asparagus with slow cooked hen’s egg
  • Cornish day boat cod with wild boar chorizo
  • Beef three ways, rump cap, slow braised cheek and smoked bone marrow
  • Tasting of desserts, lemon posset, rhubarb and custard crumble, chocolate and caramel cremeux with cinnamon doughnut.

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

“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 determined, have a passion for food, and, of course, work hard.”

One of the students working with Chris was Sean Elder.

He said: “It has been an amazing learning curve working alongside Chris for two days.

“Guest chef nights are just invaluable – you learn so many new techniques and styles of cooking.

“This year we have worked with Phil Yeomans and Chris, and they have taught us so much about the whole fine dining experience.

“It gives us the opportunity to work with different foods, new tastes, textures and concepts. It is so inspiring.”

Course tutor Ian Pitt summed up the evening by saying: “The guest chef experience is a fantastic opportunity for our students to work with top chefs who are masters at their trade.

“There is so much to be learned from these experts, and it gives our students a real insight into where they could be in a few years if they work hard and remain focused.”