(l-r) CAVC Food and Beverage Manager Thomas Bentkowski, Junior Hospitality and Catering Apprentice Sean Brown, CAVC Principal Kay Martin, CAVC Acting Head Chef Cindy Challoner, Hospitality & Catering Apprentice Alex James and CAVC Deputy Head of Hospitality, Catering and Food Manufacturing Eric Couturier

AA College Rosette and People 1st Centre of Excellence

27 January 2017

Gold standard hospitality at CAVC restaurant The Classroom wins it first AA College Rosette in Wales and Centre of Excellence status

The Classroom, Cardiff and Vale College’s landmark restaurant at its City Centre Campus, has won the first prestigious AA College Rosette to be awarded in Wales.

The College has also been awarded Gold accreditation as a Centre of Excellence for Hospitality provision by hospitality, travel, tourism and retail consultancy People 1st.

AA College Rosettes are awarded to restaurants that serve food prepared with care, understanding and skill, and achieve standards that stand out in the local area. Open to the public and recently described by Observer food reviewer Jay Rayner as “a lofty vault of sunlight and optimism, and reassuringly good food” the Classroom’s top professional staff train the future generation of culinary talent in the College’s Hospitality students.

An AA Rosette judging panel visited the College to speak with the learners about the information, support and guidance they receive from the College. The judges then went on a tour of The Classroom and its facilities and saw examples of student activity from sugar work in the College bakery to the front of house learners perfectly folded napkins.

After meeting with the restaurant’s employees, from the students who work in The Classroom to the staff members who function as employees of the restaurant as a business, the judges finally inspected the dining experience itself. The Classroom was rated on service, cuisine, hospitality and venue.

The judges then awarded The Classroom an AA Rosette Level 1 Award.

People 1st Centre of Excellence accreditation recognises colleges and providers that deliver excellent full-time or classroom based hospitality training and qualifications. It also highlights colleges and training providers that work well with employers, collaborating with them to shape the curriculum to meet industry needs while developing partnerships that create beneficial opportunities for students.

The panel of judges, made up of representatives from the industry, were impressed by The Classroom’s “focus on the real, not just the realistic” and use of employer panels to influence course development. The panel also commended the College for well-resourced and modern kitchen facilities that are “comparable to a high end hotel”, the viewing bakery and kitchen and the enthusiasm, skills and knowledge and entrepreneurial zeal of staff.

CAVC Principal Kay Martin said: “We are thrilled that The Classroom has been awarded both a coveted AA College Rosette and accreditation as a People 1st Centre of Excellence, which covers all of our hospitality provision. Since it opened last year, the restaurant has gone from strength and has received glowing reviews from both the local and national press.

“This Rosette and gold accreditation is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our talented students and the industry professionals who are training them. Congratulations to them all.”

Meanwhile, Hospitality student Amy Hoskins jetted off to India at the end of January to represent Wales in a prestigious international competition for young chefs.

Following a competition between five CAVC Hospitality and Catering students, 21-year-old Amy was chosen to represent Wales in the International Young Chef Olympiad 2017. Now in its third year, the Olympiad sees the best upcoming culinary talent from across the world compete in a range of cooking tasks for the trophy and prize money of $10,000.

Amy is being sponsored by the Cardiff Hoteliers’ Association in an example of the close working relationship between the Association and the College. The association sits on the CAVC Hospitality and Catering Employer Panel, which enables the College to ensure the training and education it provides meets skills gaps and the needs of industry.