abby brown

Catching up with 2014 graduate Abby Brown

abby brownWith demand for food and drink constantly increasing, Abby knows that she has a guaranteed future ahead of her.

Already in her first post-graduate job in new product development with Halewood International, the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturer, Abby attributes Reaseheath’s links with industry to her success in getting the post.

Abby Brown joined by Sophie Pegg Doug Powley Susie Madden with the Reaseheath RAG (Raising and Giving) mascot

Abby Brown during her time as a student, joined by Sophie Pegg Doug Powley Susie Madden with the Reaseheath RAG (Raising and Giving) mascot

Part of a team creating innovative alcoholic drinks for the Christmas market, Abby draws on the knowledge she gained during her studies such as food safety, nutrition, marketing and product positioning. She comes up with new recipes, helps to run product tastings and looks at market trends (mulled spices and tropical drinks are popular at the moment).

She believes that her BSc top-up and the Foundation Degree in Food Industry with Management, which she completed beforehand prepared her well for the world of work, particularly a realistic challenge by M&S to create a tempting new deli product. Abby and fellow students had to develop their dishes in line with consumer feedback while keeping a strict eye on profit margins, costings, packaging and labour.

Says Abby: “I find that I look much more critically at the ingredients, processing and value of different products. Food is such a varied industry – and it offers a great career path because everyone needs to eat.”

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.

Preferred Jane Gilman, Andrea Winkler, Katharina Vogt, Laura Broome and Penny Masters

International recognition for Reaseheath College’s Food Centre

Preferred Jane Gilman, Andrea Winkler, Katharina Vogt, Laura Broome and Penny Masters

Reaseheath College’s Food Centre has become the first and only educational institution in Britain to achieve an internationally recognised British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification. The £7million Food Centre, which is on the Nantwich, Cheshire, college’s campus, has been awarded a Grade A BRC, the highest possible quality mark within the food industry’s global standard for food safety.

The unique certification was approved after a robust two day audit showed that the department’s food manufacturing systems were operating under highly controlled conditions and to the highest industry standards. Areas inspected included hygiene procedures, cleanliness of the facility, food safety controls, quality systems and the traceability of food ingredients.

The accolade is particularly prestigious as many food businesses strive, but never achieve, the elusive BRC standard at Grade A. The successful bid was led by Reaseheath Technical Manager Katharina Vogt.  Food Centre Head Toni-Anne Harrison said: “This was a tremendous achievement, gained through hard work and dedication and by an understanding of how these procedures and practices underpin everything that we do in the Food Centre.

“I am extremely proud to head up such a fantastic team, where individuals from both the commercial and educational worlds work so tirelessly together to move the department forwards.Our students are now fully immersed in industry standards and practices, and understand the value that is placed on ensuring these standards are both maintained and continuously moved forwards.

“This certification will lead to increased exposure to  blue chip companies, many of which are already clients and partners, and this will create enormous opportunities for our students. It will also further strengthen Reaseheath College’s reputation for being at the forefront of teaching and learning within the food sector.”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David added : “This has been a tremendous achievement, as only the very best companies achieve BRC Grade A status. This certification proves that our Food Centre has a deep understanding of the industry it serves. It will bring the department tremendous credence and will heighten our standing within the food industry.”

Reaseheath’s Food Centre was opened in 2011 and is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe. Built to the exacting standards required by industry and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the facilities include dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery and confectionery. Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the bespoke food halls for new product development or staff training.

For further details see: or contact (training enquiries) Julie Bent E:

Seasonal Food 1 Rhubarb

Seasonal Food in February

Seasonal Food 1 Rhubarb

As the days start to get longer again, February is when we start thinking spring is just around the corner. February was know to the Saxons as ‘Sprout-Kale’,  as this is the month young cabbages would begin to sprout.

Also sprouting this month is rhubarb, which is actually a vegetable and not a fruit.

I can recommend a visit to Wakefield Rhubarb Festival, which takes place on Friday, 21st – Sunday 23rd February 2014.  Here you can try rhubarb curd, rhubarb smoothies, rhubarb and custard sweets, rhubarb pies, rhubarb sausage, rhubarb pickle, rhubarb cheese and rhubarb cakes!

Have you tried Rhubarb in Batter (like Toad in the Hole – but made with rhubarb) with syrup poured on top?

As February is the month of love and romance… why not show that special person in your life how

Seasonal Food 2 valentines

much you love them, by cooking a meal made with local and seasonal food?

BBC Good Food has some great ideas for you test out your culinary skills.

Some Web Links:

Have a look on the web for more ideas:

Bill Pearson


hot plum torte issue 1

Recipe of the Month: Hot Plum Torte

hot plum torteA hearty winter delight!

Hot Plum Torte


Serves 6-8

75g soft butter, plus more for the tin

75g caster sugar

100g self-raising flour

1tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

900g ripe plums, cut in half, stones removed

150g Demerara sugar

Icing sugar, for dusting



Generously butter a 28cm ovenproof dish or deep loose-bottomed flat tin about 4cm deep.

Mary Berry

Measure the first six ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth.

Spread this mixture over the bottom of the tin or dish. Arrange the plums on top, cut side up and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar to forma thick layer.

The torte can be made to this point and kept uncooked in the fridge for up to 12 hours. It is not suitable for freezing.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and the sponge springs back when pressed.

Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and accompanied by cream, ice cream or custard.


(This recipe is taken from Mary Berry’s ‘One Step Ahead Cookbook’)

If you make it, take a photo and email it to