Cornwall, home to some of the best restaurants and eateries in the country, can now add another venue to its growing list of accolades after Senara Restaurant at Penwith College in Penzance was crowned Best College Restaurant in the UK at a glittering award ceremony in London this week.
Senara, which has long been known locally as one of the best restaurants in the area, has now seen its appeal go national, after judges for the AA Hospitality Awards scored its students 100% for their final presentation, a top score not matched in any previous year.
Professional cookery students – Emily Earley and Shay Uren – from Penwith College travelled to London for the glittering award ceremony on Tuesday, hosted at the Grosvenor Hotel by television sport personality Gabby Logan. The event is a highlight in the industry calendar with over 1,000 guests from hotels and restaurants coming together to celebrate the best in the UK.
The students, selected because of their dedication and professionalism to the trade throughout the competition, were joined by catering lecturers Dave Izzard and Dean Bungay who couldn’t believe they came out on top against a shortlist of two other leading college restaurants from Milton Keynes and Cardiff. The award was sponsored by People 1st International.
“We know how good Senara is and reviews from our customers back this up, however being awarded “the best in the UK” by such a prestigious awarding body is fantastic,” said a shocked Dave Izzard. “The awards evening event was amazing, such an eye opener for the students who have never attended anything like this before. We are honoured to be celebrating alongside the best in the industry at such a prestigious venue.”
Jo Lello-Dunn, the Programme Team Leader for professional cookery at Truro & Penwith College, added: “We are extremely proud and delighted at the accolade as it is valued recognition of the hard work, dedication, and commitment that the team have with their learners, and which enables them to progress to such an exemplary level to achieve such amazing awards like this and showcase their exceptional industry talents.”
As well as a trophy and the recognition that comes from winning such a coveted prize, the students have been awarded an invaluable, all expenses paid, week of work experience with some of the country’s top chefs in top Michelin-starred restaurants in London including a day at the Park Plaza London, experience at Murano courtesy of Angela Hartnett and a day with Tom Booton, Executive Chef at the Grill, Dorchester.
On winning the award, student Shay said: “I can hardly believe that we have been awarded the best college restaurant in the whole of the UK. When they announced our names, we were stunned. Our little restaurant in the far west of Cornwall, has beaten much larger college restaurants.
“I finished my Level three course last summer and loved every moment of it. For myself and Emily, this is the icing on the cake celebrating three amazing years at Penwith College.”
Lucy Maggs, College Director, added: “Winning this award is testament to the outstanding teaching staff we have here at Penwith College, not only in Hospitality but across the whole range of courses offered at Penwith college in Penzance. We work to support all of our students to ensure they gain the skills and experiences that will ultimately allow them to gain the job that they desire. The hospitality industry is worth 20% of Cornwall’s economic output and is definitely a place to begin a very bright future.”
If you’d like to discover why Senara Restaurant has been crowned best in the UK, reservations can be made for Tuesday, Thursday or Friday throughout the college year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org