On the 19th May, our Chef Director David Colcombe, Development Chef Olivier Briault and members of the food team took a memorable trip to The Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall for the Adopt a School Take 3 Colleges Fundraising Dinner.

The prestigious annual event celebrates the work of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA)’s Adopt a School Trust, a national charity established in 1990 to provide food education to primary school children.

32 years on, the Trust’s work reaches over 20,000 school children each year. Trained professional chefs ‘adopt a school’ and deliver sessions encouraging the students to develop an interest and excitement about food, cooking, sustainability and provenance.

To raise funds to help support its delivery, the flagship Annual Adopt a School Take 3 Colleges Dinner invites paying guests to learn about the trust and enjoy a four-course menu curated by Royal Academicians, cooked with the help of students from food colleges from across the UK. David and Olivier were invited to devise and serve the dessert, an exciting opportunity and incredible honour.

Academicians are an elite group of chefs and hospitality workers who are recognised by RACA for their significant contribution to the UK food scene. Candidates wanting to join need to have worked under two existing academicians and are invited to interview with a select panel including John Williams MBE, Brian Turner CBE and Master Chocolatier, William Curley – pressure indeed!

On the day

After meeting Luke Tipping, executive chef at Michelin starred Simpsons, who was cooking the main course, we boarded a train to London with 120 chicken ballotines, 360 delicate filo pastry squares, and a whole load of excitement and anticipation.

On arrival the Chefs were quickly summoned into the depths of the Royal Automobile Club to get to grips with a new kitchen, catch up with old friends and, most importantly, meet the students who would be helping to cook the intricate dishes.

The Chefs spent the day with students from Bournemouth and Poole College, Westminster Kingsway College, University of West London, and Peterborough College, teaching them how to prepare each element and plate their courses, giving them a chance to develop their skills and gain valuable experience in dealing with a high-pressure service with 120 covers.

Service please!

On the night, special invited guests were treated to a champagne reception with a selection of canapés served by a group of children from a school in Battersea, which has benefitted from the Adopt a School programme over the years. Moving through to the stunning dining room, guests were served this impressive menu:

West Country Wild Seabass, Toasted Barley Risotto, Heritage Radish and Charred Egg Plant

Matthew Marshall & Ben Gielen, Royal Automobile Club

Tortelli with Burrata Ricotta and Black Truffle

Francesco Mazzei, Fiume

Caldecott Farm Cotswold White Chicken, Wye Valley Asparagus and Wild Garlic

Luke Tipping, Simpson’s

English Strawberry, Whipped Madagascan Vanilla Ganache and Maple Caviar

David Colcombe & Olivier Briault

On taking a trip behind the scenes to gather some all-important social media content, we discovered our very own Chef Colcombe had been called up to the pass to help the Simpson’s team with their main course – he hadn’t lost his touch! Speaking of the event he said:

“It was an honour to be invited to cook at the Royal Automobile Club with Olivier, the students and fellow academicians – some of whom I hadn’t seen for years!

“The students dealt with the pressure of the event extremely well and left inspired by the experience.

“We’re delighted to have played our part in supporting the Academy’s important Adopt a School programme, an initiative that really helps to educate children at a very young age about the importance of food.”