Design-a-menu project hailed as a great example of teamwork

27 June, 2022 2:22 pm

‘A really successful collaboration’.

That’s the tasty verdict on a design-the-menu project that Harrogate College has just completed for RHS Garden Harlow Carr.

Hospitality students were asked to create a hypothetical menu, with a focus on sustainability, for the new café Harlow Carr is creating at the former Harrogate Arms pub.

The challenge involved the students splitting into sub-teams to come up with different ideas. Their completed menus ended up featuring everything from vegetable lasagne to an eggs Benedict and smoothie combo, along with some inventive twists on traditional family favourites.

Each sub-group had to then explain their concepts, and provide samples of their dishes for tasting, during an end-of-project presentation.

The Harlow Carr team were impressed with the results, and gave positive feedback across the board.

Praise for thoughtful, well-planned and sustainability-focused ideas

Commenting on a presentation by students Ellena, Chris and Amber, they said:The vegetable lasagne and side salad looked very colourful and fresh. It was excellently presented and would appeal to both adults and children alike.

“The presentation was extremely thorough and well planned. There was excellent consideration given to sourcing local food and reducing the carbon footprint.

“Their menu choice appealed to us as they had considered our audience and their needs. They provided a menu that created the option of eating in or ‘taking out’, which customers would appreciate the flexibility.

“Consideration was also given to the ‘take-out’ packaging providing ethical choices, for example through using beeswax wraps.”

The project proved a hit with the students too, who enjoyed a fact-finding trip to the gardens. They were then given a ‘sowing and growing’ masterclass – using planters built at the college – by an RHS Harlow Carr gardener, who visited several times.

Harrogate College, which is working towards becoming net zero carbon by 2030, has made sustainability one of its key goals and provides carbon literacy training to students and staff.

A great chance to grow and develop

In her report, Professional Cookery student Ellena Harrison-Wood described how she relished the chance to come up with environmentally-friendly solutions as part of her team’s pitch.

She said: “Doing this project massively helped me personally grow and develop a lot of skills, including my *STEM 7 skills. 

“We were very conscious of our carbon footprint and making it as small as possible. Part of our plan was to use local businesses in Harrogate to really cut down on the travel of our ingredients, and to give back to the local community. “

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, added: “It has been a really successful collaborative project and the students have taken a lot from it.

“They did a great job, and we’re already talking to Harlow Carr about teaming up again soon.”

Students, staff and visitors, meanwhile, will be able to sample some of the vegetables and herbs that the students have been growing when the Bistro holds a Street Food Festival on Thursday 30 June.

The event – which will include entertainment – runs from 6pm to 8.30pm and costs £15, which gives diners five tickets to spend at food and drink stalls. 

More details on our hospitality courses can be found here.

*STEM 7 refers to the core skills that underpin STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and are vital in all kinds of jobs. Those are: creative thinking, data-driven decisions, collaboration, communication, flexibility, intellectual curiosity and problem solving.