Cooking For Starrs At City College

Brighton City College students wow diners and raise £2530 for the Starr Trust!

For the fourth year running, the Starr Trust held its’ ever popular competition ‘Cooking for Starrs’ at City College Brighton’s Gallery restaurant. This sold-out masterchef-style event ran over 3 weeks, culminating in a nail biting final between student chefs Maisie Everest with her Blue team and Arion Christophers with his Red Team.

With the help of Michelin starred Chef Matt Gillan of The Pass and the dedicated college tutors, the two finalists’ wowed guests with “an inspiring and delicious 3-course meal” according to Sascha Koehler, General Manager at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, who sponsored the event. All the food was beautifully presented and guests found it hard to believe they were eating in a college restaurant. The Front of House worked hard to ensure an unforgettable experience was had by all and even created a Wine Flight to accompany the food.

The trophy, presented by Sascha Koehler, went to the well-deserved winner Maisie, who led her Blue Team to victory with a menu that included ‘vanilla cured salmon with cucumber ketchup, chargrilled cucumber and pickled ginger’. This event was her very last service as she has now finished college. She was delighted with the result and told us that “winning this competition at the end of my course at City College was just brilliant.” Maisie and her team are being treated by Matt Gillan to a slap up lunch at The Pass and the Hilton has given the runners up a delicious cream tea.

The City College students have gone on to do extremely well in the workplace and the Starr Trust is delighted to have helped them acquire this unique experience. Last year’s winner Poppy, works at Hell’s Kitchen in Brighton, and runner up Sally, as Chef de Partie at the Camelia restaurant, South Lodge Hotel. Previous winners include Emma, who is Manageress at Sussex County Cricket Ground, Nathaniel, who works at the Balmoral Hotel, two other participants were accepted into the prestigious Chef’s Academy at South Lodge and many have been recruited by the Hilton.

The Starr Trust Press Manager, Nicole Carman, told us why this kind of event is so important; “the monies raised will go towards supporting young people in the BN postcode and help give catering students the experience they need. The UK desperately needs more chefs with a current deficit of 70,000. We need to take action to attract young chefs, and help them develop their skills. This event highlights the importance of colleges that offer Catering and Hospitality courses, and hotels and restaurants that are prepared to help these young chefs and front of house to get on the ladder.”

Original Event Listing

Thursday June 4th and Thursday June 11th 2015

This June, catering students from Brighton’s City College will tantalise your taste buds in the hugely popular ‘Cooking for Starrs’. This Masterchef style competition, now in its 4th year, will see young up-and-coming chefs go head to head, creating stunning menus under the mentorship of chef Matt Gillan of The Pass at South Lodge as well as their creative college tutors. The money raised for the Starr Trust will help local young people to fulfil their potential.

Event organiser Tracey Narvaez says, “As a guest you will sample 6 delicious courses with wine pairing suggestions, both designed by the students. You will then critique the food and cast your vote on who should win. The Hilton Brighton Metropole, main sponsor of the event, will provide champagne cocktails on arrival to get this fabulous evening under way and there will be lots of great prizes to be won, donated by local businesses.”

All the students will visit the 5* South Lodge Hotel and the competing chefs will gain an incredible experience working with the supremely talented Head Chef Matt Gillan, who already has a Michelin Star and 4 AA Rosettes under his belt and who creates exquisite Progressive British food at The Pass. Matt says “Cooking for Starrs is a great opportunity for the students as well as a real treat for the guests. I feel privileged to be in the position I am to give back to an industry that has given me so much. If you go to this event you’ll be helping to raise funds that will put more young people on the road to realising their dreams”.

Last year’s winner, Poppy Fray, who now works at Hell’s Kitchen in Brighton, told us “Cooking for Starrs was a really unique experience. I had never competed before so it was very exciting and a great addition to my CV. My team mates in the competition are now doing really well and I think it really spurred them on.” The runner up Sally Meineke is currently working at the Camellia restaurant at South Lodge Hotel, and other students have gone on to join the prestigious Chefs Academy at South Lodge and find positions in local restaurants like the Ginger Pig.

The events run on Thursday evenings: 4th and 11th June.
Venue: The Gallery Restaurant, City College Brighton and Hove, Pelham Street, Brighton, BN1 4FA.

Tickets are £25. To buy individual tickets or a table of 10 please contact please contact Tracey on 01273 715882 or email

For more info go to:
City College:
South Lodge Hotel:
Hilton Hotels: