Teaching and Learning During Lockdown

Phoebe Berry

The third month of lockdown restrictions is well under way and we have all had to make changes and adapt to this new way of life. At Westminster Kingsway College, our hospitality students and teachers have had to find clever and creative ways to stay on top their game with this very hands-on subject whilst the college buildings are closed.

In this blog, hospitality lecturer Marc Whitley and student Phoebe Berry share their unique experiences of teaching and learning during the lockdown.

Marc Whitley, Lecturer in Hospitality, Food and Beverage

“The lockdown has been a huge challenge for teachers across the country, but particularly for those teaching hands-on, practical subjects like hospitality and culinary arts. It’s been a steep learning curve for me and my students. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response from students, which has been better than I anticipated, and they have really bought into what we are trying to achieve, which is continuing education.

“I have had to think outside of the box while remaining within the curriculum (set by City and Guilds). For example, one assignment was for my students to set up a table at home, as they would in our award winning training restaurant in Victoria, The Escoffier Room. They had to go through the steps of taking an order, serving the food and clearing the table, as well serving and presenting a bottle of wine. For this front of house assignment, I asked them to video or take pictures of the different stages of the process, so that I could assess them and give immediate feedback. It was fun to see how they improvised on the equipment that they had at home from the starter through to the coffee service.

“We had an interesting array of guests, including dogs sitting in chairs, teddy bears, little brothers and sisters and grandparents. Some worked alone taking orders and holding conversations with stuffed animals! Others made it a family affair, enticing family members to play the role of customers. One student even had her front of house uniform, on which shows the level of commitment. The feedback I received was that our students were very proud to be showing off their skills to their families.

“We did this all through our Microsoft Teams software which is an apt name considering teamwork has never been stronger. I’ve found all the students are really pulling together during this time and helping each other out, which is great to see. I have also spoken to parents who are really supportive of how we are handling the current situation and the tools available to their children, especially the funding for laptops provided by the college.

“For the next four weeks I’ll have a new group of students who I have never met and who haven’t met me. This will be a new challenge but also a rewarding one. It’s an opportunity to prove exactly what you can achieve and what past life experiences you reach into to make this situation work. We are all working together in a way we haven’t before, which I know will carry on when we all return.

“This had been a learning and development exercise for us all and the lecturers in the Culinary Arts have been a great support to each other in making this work. WestKing may be closed but the teaching is continuing in the heart of the student’s homes.”

Phoebe Berry – Level 1 Professional Chef Diploma

“When the lockdown started, I was three weeks in to work experience at Lords Cricket Ground. It was such an amazing opportunity and I was really enjoying what I was learning in their three separate professional kitchens. Just before lockdown started, I was working in the pastry kitchen creating fine dining desserts for up to 300 people at a time. There is also the Committee Dining Room Kitchen, where the players eat during the cricket season and the Main Kitchen where the staff of Grounds eat. I was having a great time and learning a lot, so I was really disappointed it had to come to an end so abruptly. However, I’ve been offered a summer placement when this is over. It will be during the cricket season which is really exciting.

“Since the lockdown started our tutors have kept us busy with a range of learning methods, from online tasks to quizzes which has been interesting and fun. I’m quite confident on the theory and couldn’t wait to get back in the kitchen so when I was set the food sustainability task I jumped at the chance.

“The brief was to create a meal with only the ingredients that I had in my cupboard at home. In light of the pandemic, it’s difficult for people to make quick and regular trips to the supermarket. Making frugal meals with limited ingredients and food sustainability has never been more important. I then did a live demonstration of making the recipe which was filmed and uploaded to YouTube.

“I decided to make three separate meals using one whole chicken. Firstly, a classic roast dinner to feed a family. I boiled down the chicken carcass to create a stock and from this made a chicken risotto and an Asian chicken soup using the chicken leftovers. I was given technical support from my tutor and convinced my mum to film it!

“I was really surprised with the response to the video. I’ve had a ton of positive feedback. It was my first time in front of a camera and I really enjoyed doing it. I will definitely be creating more recipes and uploading them during the lockdown. My teachers have been really supportive during lockdown and the thing I miss most is the camaraderie of the kitchen. But his has been a great way to keep creating and keep honing my skills.”

RATE US ON TRIPADVISOR
Veniceaddict7
Veniceaddict7
22/10/2020
Delightful meal Visted for lunch today in Escoffier Room (held in Brasserie section on this occasion). Welcomed warmly by reception and students as usual. The Escoffier menu was outstanding. There was not a course you could fault. The compte brulee was my favourite - will try and duplicate this at home! Food was beautifully presented and superb. The students were effecient,friendly and helpful. Better than my birthday meal at a Michelen starred restaurant. Sadly not many customers due to covid however very safe set up so would encourage others to go. Amazing value for money.
Edwardscot
Edwardscot
21/10/2020
The Vincent Rooms I had a very pleasant and relaxed 5 course meal with wine pairing. The food and wine were excellent, the staff are students at the college and are helpful and informative. For £60 it can’t be beat for value. A firm favourite.
W14wanderer
W14wanderer
21/10/2020
Budding chef’s creations Delicious food created and served by students at Westminster Kingsway College. Six course tasting menu - wine and food - of very high quality and at a very reasonable price. The experience so enjoyable and good to encourage the young chefs who’ll be running our restaurants in due course.
Tully
Tully
19/10/2020
Lovely lunch, hope to return soon We ate in the Escoffier and had the seafood menu with accompanying wines. All was very good and we enjoyed very much. To my personal taste : 1. the tomato consume added little to the seafood medley. 2. The crumble detracted from the sorbet. 3. The chocolate bavoirois would have benefitted from a contrasting flavour on the plate, eg citrus, ginger, or other fruit. Thank you and best wishes to all the students.
Sue Twyford
Sue Twyford
13/10/2020
Fantastic menu and attentive service A lovely atmosphere with very attentive service, a seven course seafood themed menu. Each course was delicious, the dover sole being a particular delight. The price for a fine dining menu was excellent and well worth a visit, we will be returning and would highly recommend.
Laura E
Laura E
08/10/2020
Perfect lunch - delicious dishes and great service Like most people, my husband and I haven't eaten out that much recently so it was a real treat to come here for lunch yesterday. The tables were spaced out very comfortably and the environment was modern, inviting and spacious. The menu (which changes every week) was really interesting, created in partnership with New Covent Garden Market so you could chose to have an entirely vegetarian 7-course lunch or one which included fish and meat, but conveniently you could pick and chose per course. I mainly had the fish/meat menu but hand-picked the artichoke starter which was so fresh and tasty, a great choice. The pork belly main with scallop was a definite highlight, but all the dishes displayed a high level of sophistication and strong mastery of different techniques. Im a celiac and they were very good at accommodating this in the dishes, even giving me different petit fours. Top marks, we will be returning soon!
Tom_Egerton
Tom_Egerton
08/10/2020
The best value, high quality, enjoyable eating in London for sure! We ate at the Escoffier room which is the 7 course set menu option. A bargain at £31 a head which included super high quality produce cooked with skill by the third year students. Interesting, flavoursome dishes with a weekly changing set menu. This week was a sea food based menu which didn't disappoint. service staff are first year students which are learning the ropes in the hospitality world. Maximum effort and attention was given by everyone we met. well worth checking out if you want something a bit special and we will definitely be returning again soon!
Denis438
Denis438
07/10/2020
THIRD VISIT- OUTSTANDING AGAIN Another great lunch with friends , our third visit to Escoffier and many visits to the Brasserie in the past, see pervious reviews. First time to the newly decorated Escoffier, which has been done very tastefully, another truly enjoyable culinary experience and service by the students of a six courses theme menu with matching wines with a vegetarian options if required, outstanding value. The presentation and quality of the dishes were excellent with students explaining each dish as it was served. The whole location is very COVID secure, well done to everyone. This is a must visit when in London, as usual we will back. Thank You again.
Alison M
Alison M
06/10/2020
Try it you will not be disappointed Had a fantastic lunch in the Escoffier room. 6 amazing courses well put together and very reasonably priced, being cooked and served by the students at Westminster College. Julia our server was very personable and attentive (in a non intrusive way) All the courses were well cooked, the standout being the fish course, a perfectly cooked sole paupiette and fine vegetables showing excellent knife skills. With a different theme each week (British seafood this week) certainly a place to visit regularly.
helenW7024UT
helenW7024UT
30/09/2020
Superb food in a Covid secure restaurant This was our first visit in the new academic year. Based on previous visits our expectations were very high and to our astonishment the quality of cooking was even higher than we remembered. We had six dishes between the two of us (we always share!) and all of them could have come from a high-end professional kitchen - they were tasty, innovative and very well presented. David, the student assigned to look after us, was unobtrusive but attentive, showing true professionalism. Also from our entering the building to our leaving we were very aware of how much thought was put by staff into making sure that the whole experience was made as Covid-secure as possible. I would strongly recommend a visit to this restaurant, not only because of its very reasonably priced excellent food and service but also in order to support the college staff in training future generations of hospitality professionals. I thank all of the staff and students for their superb service and look forward to another visit.
SUBSCRIBE HERE FOR OUR LATEST NEWS & EVENTS
Please tick here to confirm you're happy for us to use your information to provide you with information about The Vincent Rooms and other relevant Capital City College Group projects. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
FIND US
Westminster Kingsway College
76 Vincent Square
London SW1P 2PD