College students past and present scoop top honours at Food & Drink Awards

Posted 2nd November 2023

Past and present students at Northampton College were the stars of the show at a top awards night, landing a total of six trophies between them.

The Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards took place at the Royal & Derngate theatre on Wednesday, November 1 – celebrating the producers, artisans, chefs and restaurateurs who have catapulted the county’s hospitality and catering sector into one of the best in the country.

Northampton College curriculum manager for culinary arts, hospitality, travel and tourism, Phil Martin was given the Patron’s Award in recognition of his services to the sector.

He said: “Winning this award was a total shock. As a college we have always been big supporters of the awards and the local food and drink scene in general so to get recognition for our work in supplying young chefs to restaurants across the county and given them a platform from which they can launch their careers is lovely. It’s not an award for me, it’s for the whole team.”

Cohen O’Dell won gold as Food and Drink College Student of the Year while classmate Cara Payne got Silver.

Fellow student Kamil Podgorski won the Canape of the Year award for his ‘Autumn Sonata’ – a cored scone, filled with autumn raspberry chutney and topped with Parmesan and mint that was served to guests arriving at the lavish black tie awards dinner.

Northampton College students have gone on to work in some of the finest kitchens in the country and two former students also picked up silverware on the night.

Joe Buckley was named Food & Drink Achiever of the Year and also landed the coveted Gastro Pub of the Year award for his restaurant The Tollemache Arms in Harrington.

Jade Walter, who is currently working at Rushton Hall hotel and spa, was named Young Chef of the Year.

Principal of Northampton College, Pat Brennan-Barrett, said: “Our hospitality and catering course is the envy of colleges up and down the country, in no small part because of the efforts of Phil and his team who strive to ensure their students work hard to fulfil their potential.

“Their creativity, flair and determination to succeed is seeing them earn incredible opportunities to flourish in the kitchens of the finest gastro pubs and restaurants in Northamptonshire and beyond, carving out a career where they can put their skills in the spotlight.

“To see staff and students, past and present, pick up these highly deserved accolades at such a prestigious ceremony here in Northamptonshire is particularly pleasing. The county’s food and drink sector is thriving, and it’s being powered in no small part by Northampton College.”

For more information about the hospitality and catering courses available at Northampton College register now for one of the two ‘Go Beyond’ Open Events, which will be held simultaneously at Booth Lane and Lower Mounts from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, November 4 and 5pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 8. See for details.