The food department prepares for Reaseheath Family Festival 2014

1904119_502748099835545_1784432433_nPreparations are well under-way in the Food Department for this year’s Family Festival. The theme is Technology with commemorative reflections on the centenary of World War One.  Within the department we will be hosting a range of activities including a World War One inspired cook off competition, designed to find out who, within the College are aspiring chefs, capable of working under pressure and to a high standard of flavour delivery.  We will also be housing some war time recipes within the farm shop – available at very reasonable price points, with the added incentive of a ration book. Tea and Coffee and refreshments will be served throughout the day, we will be having tours of our facilities and children’s activities at regular intervals, as well as variety of food related demonstrations. Volunteers are most welcome to join us for what promises to be a fun filled day.

For for information about Reaseheath’s Family Festival, visit: http://www.reaseheath.ac.uk/family-festival/ 

Toni-Anne Harrison

Issue 3 student Denmarl trip

Food students on tour

Issue 3 student Denmarl trip

On Friday 28th March, eleven of the Year 2 Food Technology students set off on a 26 hour journey across a calm North Sea to Denmark. This ten day adventure was to be packed with interesting visits and exciting views. Though the ferry crossing was a smooth one there was bound to be some ups and downs along the way…

Saturday 29th March

We drove into Esbjerg at around 13:00, a small but beautiful little town not far from where the ferry dropped us off. The majority of the group headed straight for the nearest McDonalds; the rest of the afternoon was spent sightseeing and relaxing. We checked into our first hotel, Hotel Ansgar, where the question on everyone’s lips was “Hvad er wifi adgangskode?” (What’s the Wifi password?).

Sunday 30th March

We prepared for a very interesting journey down to Copenhagen, some of us feeling a little peculiar after the curious Danish Chinese meal we shared the previous night. In order to get to Copenhagen we had to cross the Great Belt Bridge (Storebaeltsbroen), the third longest suspension bridge outside of Asia stretching approximately 4 miles. The view was a little hazy but it was spectacular all the same.denmark bridge

We arrived in Copenhagen at lunch time and spent the afternoon looking around the city before going out for a nice group meal in the evening, this time opting for a Tex-Mex themed restaurant.

Monday 31st March

After a lovely continental breakfast in the Imperial Hotel, Copenhagen, we packed up and set off over the Oresund Bridge to Sweden. We travelled to Lund where we visited Tetra Pak Headquarters; they were very welcoming and showed us around the factory where they produce food manufacturing equipment, we were especially impressed with the automatic pipe bending machine and their snazzy steel toe capped shoe covers. Afterwards we made our way back over the bridge to our hotel in Odense.

Tuesday 1st April

An early start this morning as we set off to Kold College.  The college is closely linked with Reaseheath and were also very hospitable. We were given a talk about what the Kold does and were then shown around their food manufacturing facilities, which are very different to ours. In the afternoon we took a long and winding journey to our first Arla factory where we met up with Michal Brzysk, an Eden student at Reaseheath. The factory produces many types of hard cheeses and we were shown a bird’s eye view of the process from milk intake to final product and packaging, we didn’t get to take any product home, however, we did leave with a very cheesy aroma.

Issue 3 Denmark students tripWednesday 2nd April

After a good night’s sleep at the Hotel Royal in Holstebro we decided to head down to our final hotel in Billund. Today we had a free day, so after much debate we decided to go shopping. After an afternoon of retail therapy and relaxation we went back to our Hotel Sdr. Omme Kro and together had our evening meal of steak and chips.


Thursday 3rd April

We drove a long way to Rodkaersbro to visit our second Arla plant and Eden student Jess Davies. We had a tour around the factory where they made mozzarella cheese and the air was a lot more breathable. Afterwards we were given a talk about lean manufacturing –  how to produce less waste and maintain product value. Afterwards we ambled back to our hotel in Billund where we had dinner together, steak and chips again!

Friday 4th April

Issue 3 denmark study trip

This morning we went to Aarhus (Pronounced: our house) to visit Arla Headquarters. We were all amazed at the beauty of the building consisting of lush green furnishings, glass sculptures, grand pianos and its own herd of cows. In the afternoon we had a look around the area, we visited a little village of Old Danish buildings and another shopping centre. In the evening we celebrated our last evening in Denmark with a meal of, you guessed it, steak and chips in the hotel and a drink in the local pub.

Saturday 5th April

We packed up all our things and slowly made our way back to Esbjerg where we had a last look around the town before setting sail and heading home.

A huge thanks to:

  • Damien Murphy and Penny Masters for joining us on the trip and for coping with us for ten days. We hope we didn’t annoy you too much.
  • our Course tutor James Blakemore for organising all of our visits, we know it couldn’t have been easy but it came together well in the end.

We would like to say a very special thank you to Bernard Lloyd for his financial contribution and for making this trip happen. We all enjoyed our trip to Denmark very much and the only down side is that it had to come to an end.

trolley Marks and Spencer - issue 3

Students visit Marks and Spencer Head Office

trolley Marks and Spencer - issue 3

Recently, we had the great opportunity of visiting the Marks and Spencer head office. On arrival we were greeted by Barbara Ross, who works closely with the New Product Development and Buying side of Marks and Spencer. We also met other members of the team, these included, a graduate Product Developer and a graduate Technologist.

After a number of really interesting talks we attended a particularly exciting  meeting that discussed current trends within the industry. In addition to this, we met with buyers and suppliers and we were able to taste and give our own opinion of the new products that would be launched on Marks and Spencer’s shelves later on this year… unfortunately all the products were top secret so you will just have to wait to find out what they were!

After all that wonderful tasting of new products it was time to head off to meet a few more team members.

After a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day it was time to return home, luckily we got one of the last trains home otherwise we might have been stuck! It later transpired that fortune had favoured our timing as later that day adverse weather conditions caused massive train delays.

This opportunity gave us a small  insight into the workings of Marks and Spencer and a great insight in to how we can further our career in an ever evolving industry.

Imogen Johnson, Charlotte Reed and Abigail Brown

From Further to Higher Education

From Further to Higher Education

studying reduced pixs


Have you applied for a higher education course through UCAS? Are you thinking about studying for a foundation degree or degree? It can be quite a big jump in studying from further education (FE) to higher education (HE), and for some students, it can take a lot of getting used to.

Whether you decide to study at Reaseheath or another Higher Education institution, the challenges are the same.

Firstly, deadlines really mean deadlines. You might have been given a few extra days by a kind module tutor in FE. If an assignment must be submitted by 5pm on a certain date, failure to submit may mean you get a big zero for that assessment at HE. And then you have to pay to resit it…

Self-motivation is really important at university. If class sizes are large, as they are in some universities, lecturers may well not know who you are, yet alone chase you up if you don’t attend lectures or submit work. Being able to sit yourself down to complete coursework on time can be a challenge, but it is a skill that can be developed.

We’ve all been guilty of putting away classwork and then not looking at it until the next session, or even not until exam revision time. In higher education, though, it is expected that you read around the topic.

Not all of the information will be given to you in  class – there are recommended reading lists to help you widen your knowledge. You’ll only get high marks if you show that you’ve studied independently and used a wide range of sources of information, referenced correctly.

Ah yes – referencing.  Even we lecturers are bored by it, but it’s not us who could be chucked off the course, or at least fail a module, if you don’t do it properly. You don’t have to memorise all the details, just know where to check. Course handbooks will contain information on the correct way to reference – follow it. Interpret and develop information you find, don’t just type in out word for word. Most universities nowadays use software to check for plagiarism (using someone else’s work and passing it off as your own). Plagiarism isn’t just copying someone else’s work, it’s using information, even a sentence, and not changing the words to interpret it into your own words.

Finally, make the most of it. Have fun, but study hard too – you’re paying for your education, so you should make sure you get your money’s worth out of it! You wouldn’t spend thousands on a car and then leave it on the driveway. So why spend much, much more on an education and then not turn up for lectures, or not hand in work?

Issue 3 Sainsburys visit

Sainsbury’s Impressed by Food Centre Expertise and Facilities

Issue 3 Sainsburys visit

On 10th April 2014 we were delighted to welcome Sainsbury’s Heads of Agriculture and Dairy to the College.

Sue Lockhart, Head of Agriculture and Yvette Sowerby, Head of Dairy, provided staff with an overview of Sainsbury’s business vision and values and proceeded to spent the rest of the day learning more about Reaseheath’s expertise in food production: from farm to fork.  The pair were taken full tours of the farm and the food department and were given an overview of the Reaseheath Food Futures project (National Centre for Sustainable Primary Food Production).

Sue and Yvette were were particularly impressed with the College’s existing industry links and the structure of our courses that prepare students very well for employment upon graduation.

Going forward, Reaseheath College hopes to build a strong partnership with Sainsbury’s in areas such as training (for both Sainsbury’s employees and their manufacturing supply base), student placements, research projects and mutually beneficial knowledge transfer.

Katherine Tunnicliffe

Pictured: George Fisher, Iain Clarke, Kevin Campbell from Reaseheath College and Sue Lockhart, Yvette Sowerby from Sainsbury’s


New staff welcomed to the food department

Helen Thorley: Laboratory Technician

Issue 3 Helen Thornley smaller

Helen took over the role of laboratory technician in March.  She has a wealth of lab experience, with a degree in applied and analytical chemistry and over 18 years working within the pharmaceutical industry,  in both quality control and development laboratories.

Helen lives locally in Stapeley with her partner and two young daughters.  Away from work, she enjoys spending time with her family.  She particularly enjoys walking and likes to get away to Snowdonia and the Lake District whenever possible.



Martin Anderson: Advanced Practitioner / Lecturer & Industrial Training Manager

Issue 3 Martin Anderson

Martin joins us from Harper Adams University where he was Senior Lecturer in Meat Science and Food Science as well as Manager for the West Midlands Regional Food Academy. He will be lecturing in higher education food courses for three days a week and managing industrial training on employers premises for two days a week.
Having studied Chemistry at Bangor University, Martin went on to laboratory, technical and operations management roles within the red meat industry for 10 years. He then went on to head up the provision of vocational qualifications in food at Telford College of Arts and Technology. After completing postgraduate study in Meat Science and Environmental Management, Martin went on to teach; Quality Management, Food Safety, Animal Products Processing, Animal Welfare, HACCP and Introduction to Business to Harper Adams’s undergraduates, whilst developing and delivering a range of Food Business Management masters level courses for industry. In managing the Regional Food Academy Martin worked with over 400 small businesses assisting them in; starting up, regulatory compliance, quality systems implementation, shelf life determination and new product development.
Outside of work Martin enjoys rock climbing and mountaineering as well as trying to keep his vintage VW camper alive.

Issue 3 The Burger Team edit smaller

Reaseheath burgers get top marks for taste

Issue 3 The Burger Team edit smaller

Innovative burgers made by food technology students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich have won bronze awards in the first round of the EBLEX ‘England’s Best Burger Challenge’.

The recipes for the ‘Reaseheath Ultimate Beef Burger’ and the ‘Reaseheath Ultimate Lamb Burger’ were designed by a group of Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology and Management students as part of their studies in meat science. The minted lamb burgers and chilli beef burgers were then made by Foundation Level 1 Food Preparation and Cooking students.

EBLEX represents the beef and lamb industry in England and runs the prestigious competition biannually as part of its campaign to boost quality and innovation. The aim is to find the most succulent, tender and tasty burgers in the country.

The contest is open to any catering or butchery establishment and this year attracted record entries from throughout England. This was the first time that Reaseheath had submitted an entry.  The students had to follow very specific guidelines and strict control measures and the burgers were tested in raw and cooked form.  Just the gold award winners go forward to the national final.

Butchery lecturer Doug Ewen, who oversaw and submitted the entries, said: “This was a fantastic result for the students as there is no guarantee that you will receive any award, especially on the first attempt. It was an excellent achievement which the student can add to their CVs and which will help them as they progress into their chosen careers.”

Competition organiser Hugh Judd, EBLEX Food Service Project Manager, said: “The quality of entries this year was very high. Reaseheath’s students did extremely well, particularly as they were competing against entries from the whole of the burger sector.”

Reaseheath Food Centre is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe. Built to industry standards and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the £7.3million facilities include a butchery production area.  A new Level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery course, aimed at school leavers, launches in September.

tulips cropped for blog

Seasonal Food in April

tulips cropped for blog

We’re now well into spring, so it’s an exciting time for the gardener, and also for cooks who like to use seasonal foods.

Instead of root crops stored over the winter, we can look forward to spring vegetables.  Traditionally young nettles would be harvested to make a fresh soup.  Nettles are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and protein (and don’t worry the sting goes when they are cooked).

Have you tried sorrel?  In spring young sorrel leaves can add a sharp flavour to a salad. It’s also the start of the crab season, crabs are tasty and packed full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

For Christians, Easter is the end of lent – which means they can again enjoy foods they may have given up during lent.

We can’t mention Easter without thinking of eggs – with longer day lengths traditional outdoor hens will start laying again. In the past we’d paint or dye eggs to make them look pretty at Easter.  Chocolate Easter eggs is a relatively new tradition… Lamb is another food associated with Easter, and roast lamb is the main dish at Jewish Passover.

Other foods traditionally served at Easter include Easter-Ledge (or Dock) pudding, Easter biscuits and that Good Friday favourite – Hot Cross Buns.

Have a look on the web for more ideas:





Bill Pearson


Consumer Studies and Market Research



Our recently validated Foundation Degree in Food Manufacturing with Business Management has an exciting new module that I will be lead tutor on.

‘Consumer studies and market research in the food industry’, is a subject that is close to my heart, having worked in a number of fields within the manufacturing and retail sector. I have experienced the benefits of having a comprehensive knowledge of your industry market first-hand.

Small changes like altering meal size can have dramatic effects on sales.  Whilst working for Asda Walmart, I took the decision to change all Italian Ready Meals from a weight, which was neither a one nor two person serving, to a more robust and sizeable two person offer.  This was largely based on observations that I had done in store looking at who was shopping and analysing the frequency of purchase.  Overnight sales of Italian ready meals soared, and obviously efficiency of production did too – which was an added bonus to end margin.

The new module will introduce students to various concepts, including buyer behaviour, the influence of packaging, colour, importance of price points as well as effective quantitative research methodologies.  Consumer studies has a degree of psychology pertained within it, and the module will explore topics such as pester power, use of sense to drive sales, effect of lighting on mood, speed of shop etc.

Ultimately, for any student working or planning to work within the food industry, an understanding of what drives consumer purchase habits and how to optimise performance of brands is crucial to business success. This is a common thread through all operations, be it production, research and development, logistics and planning as well as technical.

I look forward to teaching what I am sure will be an exciting, thought provoking topic to all foundation degree students next year.

Toni-Anne Harrison