Chef Mark Lloyd
A group of Norfolk teenagers served up a three-course meal in their very own pop-up restaurant with celebrity chef Mark Lloyd recently.
The One Night Inn event saw the group – all of whom were children and young people in the care of Norfolk County Council with an interest in catering – prepare a meal for 60 guests.
It marked the culmination of a project over the last eight months aimed at helping them hone their skills in catering and hospitality.
Mark, who has appeared on television cookery programmes such as Hairy Bikers, River Cottage and Jimmy and Jamie’s Harvest, has been mentoring the group and running workshops in specialist aspects such as pastry, vegetarian cooking and even truffle-making.
Ahead of the day, the 15 young people put in extra preparation by learning from videos sent to them to help build their practical skills.
Having trialled different recipes, the group, aged between 13 and 17, created and cooked their own menu at South Green Park venue in Mattishall on Friday (June 29), enabling them to show off their new skills both in the kitchen and front-of-house.
Guests were asked to make a contribution on the night to reflect their enjoyment of the occasion, which amounted to more than £1,000. This will go to the group’s chosen charity, the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service.
Rebecca Pearson, 13, said: “I have learnt so much over the last few months, made some good friends and had lots of giggles, especially with Mark, and my family thought the dinner was amazing.”
The project, On Your Marks!…School Diners with Chef Mark Lloyd, was organised by Norfolk County Council’s Virtual School for Children in Care, specifically for young people who were enthusiastic about cooking or catering.
Mark has a particular interest in mentoring young people in care, having grown up in care himself in another part of the country.
This final event was scheduled as part of Norfolk County Council’s annual Celebration of Achievement for children and young people in care, which took place the following evening.
Cllr Penny Carpenter, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services Committee, said:
“We want to help our young people by giving them chances to follow their dreams in whatever area of life they choose.
“They have worked hard to cultivate new skills in something that excites them, and being mentored by someone they can relate to will have given them confidence to believe they can do the same as Mark.
“This experience will open doors for them to go on to work in catering and hospitality if that’s a career they want to pursue – it’s a fantastic stepping-stone for them.”