The Great City College Southampton Bake Off

Our Group Executive Chef Matt Whitfield, donned his judging hat at the Young Baker Workshop on Valentine’s Day at City College Southampton. Sponsored by our corporate partners, Hampshire Fare, the event showcased future budding talents in the hospitality industry. Read the full story below.


The next generation of cooks were discovering a love of baking this Valentine’s Day, 14th February, during a special Bake Off workshop at City College Southampton, sponsored by Hampshire Fare, the county’s food and drink group.

Now in its third year, this annual Young Baker workshop was established by Julie Hancock, Baker Lecturer in the Hospitality and Catering Department at City College Southampton, as a fun way of raising awareness among Year 10-11 students (14-15 year olds) of the career opportunities within the hospitality sector. Hampshire Fare’s valued sponsorship allows the workshop to be run at no cost to those attending, providing an equal opportunity for all students.

This year 14 students attended from schools across the region. They were guided through the process of making Black Forest scones, chocolate scones with cherries and fresh cream, with a prize awarded to the baker who produced the best scones. The judges were Natasha Dochniak, Commercial Manager, Hampshire Fare, and Matt Whitfield, Executive Group Chef, Ideal Collection, one of the county’s top chefs. He started out at Eastleigh College and has had an impressive career that includes working for Marco Pierre White as well as a number of Michelin-starred establishments, among them Eleven Madison Park in New York when it was voted Best Restaurant in the World!  The winning baker was Isobel Rosie from Upper Shirley High School.

Natasha Dochniak commented: “It has been such an enjoyable and worthwhile event. Hampshire Fare are passionate about educating the next generation and we are delighted to support City College Southampton’s initiative, helping to bridge the gap between school and college, and encourage young students to learn new skills and consider a rewarding career in a professional kitchen environment. Such workshops are an investment in the future of the hospitality sector.”

Matt Whitfield added: ‘It was so positive to see such a good turnout for the Young Baker competition. To see kids leaving school showing such an interest in hospitality and local produce is fantastic and something we need to support because they are the future of our industry’.

Simon Hart, Senior Teacher for Hospitality, said: “I really enjoy the Young Baker days run here at City College Southampton. It is a great way for students to meet new people with similar interests, have fun and get some insight into the College as well as the hospitality industry. All students produce fantastic products that they are proud of to take home.

“It is essential for industry to support initiatives such as this to help build a positive image of the hospitality industry. Hampshire Fare are great at doing this and are investing their time and effort into educating the next generation of hospitality staff and consumers.”

Julie Hancock, Baker Lecturer, explained: “Supporting the younger generations is at the heart of what we do. This is the third year that Hampshire Fare have kindly sponsored the Young Baker workshop. It is really important to get young people into this sector, where there are so many opportunities for them. Today was a fun-filled day and the students enjoyed themselves and had some delicious Black forest fresh cream scones to take home.”

About Hampshire Fare

Hampshire Fare is a not-for-profit supporting over 350 members, encompassing food, drink and craft producers, hospitality businesses, and independent retailers. They all share Hampshire Fare’s vision: a commitment to source local, strengthen communities and contribute to a sustainable future for the region.

Hampshire Fare was established in 1991 by a group of farmers. It has evolved into a champion of local food, drink and craft, increasing awareness among the public and trade of the wide range of local produce available, and assisting local businesses to develop through opportunities, events, marketing, publicity and business support.

Hampshire Fare is supported in this work by Hampshire County Council, along with Corporate Partners: Bankbrokers, Business South, Clarke & Son, Fuller Smith & Turner, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Harvest, Ideal Collection, Menzies, NFU Mutual New Forest, Bournemouth & IoW, Rownhams House & Gardens, Southern Co-Op, Starfish Creative Design, and the Upham Group.

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