CATERING students were given a taste of the scale of the food industry as a leading supplier served up a network event at their college.
Family business Hopwells is one of the largest independent frozen food wholesalers in the UK and operates a depot in Darlington.
Food companies from around the country attended a Hopwells food knowledge day in Darlington College’s Glasshouse restaurant featuring demonstrations, tastings and the opportunity to network.
The event adopted a ‘speed dating’ style in which guests visited various company stands to talk to experts and sample the latest products.
Exhibitors included UK Food Hall, Iceland Seafood UK, Green Gourmet, Birds Eye, McCain, Quorn, Kings Fine Cooked Meats, Blakemans, Cool Delight Desserts, Wafflemeister and Kara Bakers. Guests included caterers and local authorities.
Commercial director Ashley Hopwell told delegates: “We have wanted to stage an event in the North like this for years and Darlington College was the perfect fit. This is a great opportunity to talk to the experts and find out about the latest food developments.
“For the students it is a chance to be inspired and to see the huge range of opportunities outside of the kitchen available in the food industry.”
Darlington College level 2 catering student Amy Priestman, 17, of Darlington, said: “I didn’t appreciate fully what a huge industry food is and how many potential employers are out there.
“The event was really useful and we also learnt a lot about sustainability, vegetarian and vegan alternatives to meat and ethical practices such as British Red Tractor and Farm Assured.”
Darlington College senior tutor Bill Johnson said: “We were thrilled to hold such an important event which helps disseminate the many advances in food the industry is experiencing.
“It was a real eye-opener for our students and I’m sure it will help them think beyond the traditional hospitality settings for their future careers.”