ASPIRING chefs at a Hampshire college served up a seven-course taster menu with the aid of a team of top professionals.

Eastleigh College’s East Avenue Restaurant hosted the event at which students worked in collaboration with the Exclusive Chefs Academy and chef Andy Mackenzie from Lainston House Hotel.

Working closely with food group Hampshire Fare, the students sourced all their ingredients locally.

Each course was paired with a locally-made drink.

Hampshire ingredients and drinks featured on the menu included Kings Somborne eggs, Chalk Stream Trout, Twisted Nose Gin, New Forest Mushrooms, Meon Valley Cider, pork from LJ Smith Butchers, seasonal vegetables from Sunnyfields Farm, Hill Farm Juice, MASH beer, Chalkdown Cider, Lyburn Cheese, Danebury Wine, honey from Mrs B’s Bees, Wessex Wild Plum liqueur, Tunworth, Mozzo Coffee and chocolate from The Hampshire Confectioner.

Level 3 Diploma Food and Beverage Supervision students served at table.

Greg Cheeseman, chef lecturer at the college, commented: "One of our aims as a department is to give our students a wide range of culinary experiences. This event allows them to work with some talented young chefs, to produce top quality dishes.

"It is also a fantastic opportunity for them to have their eyes opened to some of the amazing ingredients which are available from local suppliers. Having support from Industry professionals like Andrew McKenzie, and Hampshire Fare allows us to enrich the learning experience of our students, and hopefully produce chefs of the future.”

Weeks of work and planning has gone into meal with the students even distilling their own gin for the occasion at Winchester Distillery.

Megan Whittall, a level 3 cookery student, explained what an inspiring process it has been: “I really enjoyed cooking with ingredients I hadn’t tried before, and learning new ways of using ingredients I was familiar with.”

The meal was served up to 40 diners who included some of the local producers and Tracy Nash, commercial manager from Hampshire Fare who was clearly impressed:

“The standard of the food this evening has been outstanding," said Tracy. "I have been taken aback by the talent and passion in the room. I am excited about what this means for the future, I think we can expect to see a lot of new culinary talent working its way up the ranks in Hampshire."