(l-r) Deputy Head of Tourism, Hospitality, Sport & Public Services Eric Couturier, Head Chef Alex Smith, Food and Beverage Manager Thomas Bentkowski and Hospitality & Catering students Rhys Rawlinson and Carla John

Unique culinary experience as 'The Classroom' opens in the heart of Cardiff

26 November 2015

Unique culinary experience for the region as 'The Classroom' opens in the heart of Cardiff City Centre

A brand new restaurant offering unique views across the city and Cardiff Bay has opened its doors to the public in time for the festive season.

Just a stone’s throw from the heart of the city centre, The Classroom is situated on the 5th floor of the brand new £45m Cardiff and Vale College City Centre Campus serving modern European cuisine from a state-of-the-art open kitchen.

There is also more to this stunning modern restaurant too, as the name and location suggests, The Classroom is training future culinary talent for the capital. However, this unique venue is not your usual training restaurant – as it sees top industry professionals with a wealth of experience from Michelin and AA Rosette establishments across UK running the restaurant day in day out, alongside visiting professionals, all training the future stars of the industry.   

Head Chef at The Classroom, Alex Smith, explains:

“The Classroom provides our guests with a unique culinary experience. They will be served and catered for by the next generation of hospitality and catering professionals; current students who are in the midst of learning their trade, and who operate alongside and under the guidance of a professional and experienced team of chefs and front of house staff.”

Before taking up the post of Head Chef at The Classroom, Smith most recently worked at The New Inn on the Isles of Scilly – just one of 12 Cornish pubs to be listed in the Michelin ‘Eating Out in Pubs Guide’ – after working alongside Michelin star chefs Anton Edlemann, Paul Heathcoat and Chris Galvan for 10 years in 5 star establishments in Cheshire. Closer to home, he was also the Executive Sous Chef at Cardiff’s St David’s Hotel.

And it’s not just the catering students that are benefitting from industry professionals, resident Food and Beverage Manager at The Classroom, Thomas Bentkowski, has over 20 years’ experience working in the industry; having worked in Jean-Christophe Novelli’s Auberge du Lac Restaurant in Hertfordshire and more locally at Holm House in Penarth and as General Manager of Park House, Cardiff.

Providing a real-life working environment for the College’s hospitality and catering students, The Classroom offers a unique opportunity for them to gain valuable experience whilst honing their skills, and taking inspiration from some of the industry’s top chefs – with some already showing their support for Cardiff’s new eatery.

“We are fortunate to have fantastic working relationships with Chefs such as Larkin Cen and James Sommerin,” explains Smith “They have already dedicated their time and efforts into developing our students at The Classroom – running monthly masterclasses and confirming pop-up events; further inspiring the students and complementing their studies with the most up to date industry skills to ensure they are working to the standards needed by employers and enabling them to step straight into the world of work.”

Kay Martin, Deputy Principal for Curriculum and Quality for Cardiff and Vale College said:

“We are delighted to be opening The Classroom ready for the Christmas season. At Cardiff and Vale College we are serious about ensuring our students progress and working with employers to ensure students not only have the qualifications but the right skills, experience and passion to enter and succeed in the employment market and add value to an employer. We are proud of our already extremely strong track record for this –with 92% of hospitality and catering students progressing to higher level study or directly into employment within three months of completing their course – with many working in top establishments across the region and beyond.

“It is a spectacular restaurant by any standard. The views are incredible and the standard of the food the professional team here produce matches that. It is one that needs to be seen and experienced to really appreciate”.

The restaurant is already taking bookings and will be open Tuesday – Saturday for Christmas Menu lunch and dinner bookings from 24th November.  The Classroom is also available to hire for events and parties and is set to play host to guest chef takeovers and pop-up restaurants in the near future; allowing people to enjoy a variety of cuisines and some of their favourite culinary experiences – all with a unique view of Wales’ capital. The first of these is running on 3rd December and sees Larkin Cen of Hokkei take over the kitchen to work with students on providing a stunning 3-course meal with The Principality and in aid of their Charity of the Year Mind Cymru. Limited tickets are still available for this event.

To find out more about The Classroom or to make a booking call 02920 250377 or visit the website www.TheClassroom.wales . Open for lunch Tuesday to Saturday 12noon until 2pm and dinner Tuesday to Saturday 6pm to 9pm.