Our Amazing Day at Calcot Manor!
On Tuesday 18th June Archway’s Year 9 GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition class were invited to a trip to Calcot Manor.
It was to spend the day making an Afternoon Tea for family and Archway staff as well as decorating the rooms where the tea would be served. On arrival at Calcot we were given a presentation by Paul, the Director of the hotel. This was about the Calcot Collection and how it was started, and we were also given a briefing about Health and Safety, essential for working in a new environment and in a kitchen!
My group spent the morning with Henry, the Front of House Manager. We began by planning the layout of the tables and the decoration of the venue so it was coordinated all the way through. Once we had decided this, we began to set up tables, chairs and started to decorate it. Students were also given the job of designing the menu – it took three times to get the wording correct and up to standard!
After lunch we were given advice about the importance of a “hand over” where we discussed with the other group exactly what was required to do in each area – that way nothing was left to chance!
We met Matthew the Head Baker, Mary the Patissiere and Joe who was doing an apprentice at Calcot Manor. With Mary they were in charge of decorating the cappuccino tarts whilst the group I was in was in charge of making the scones. The vast quantities of ingredients were amazing to see and we got fantastic tips from Matt about perfecting the texture!
We had a final group meeting where people where assigned the jobs of meeting and greeting, pouring prosecco, plating up and pouring tea and coffee. As people started to arrive, they were served tea, coffee or prosecco before the Director Paul gave an introduction to Calcot Manor and what we had been doing all day. He was very impressed and complemented us all! A little bit nervous, we then served Afternoon Tea. It was beautifully presented, made up of a selection of fruit and plain scones, brownies, lemon drizzle, cappuccino tarts and salmon, cucumber and soft cheese, ham or egg sandwiches. Once the afternoon tea was finished Charmaine and Cody gave a speech thanking them for the day before we cleared up.
We had an amazing day at Calcot preparing, making and serving an afternoon tea. We improved lots of skills like communication and teamwork setting up an event in a real working environment. In total we made and served 729 individual cakes and sandwiches to roughly 81 guests, which included staff from Archway and our family and friends. We were also lucky enough to be able to sample the delightful food we had made!
By Jessica, Year 9
We arrived at Calcot Manor and split into two groups. My group was shown the Bakery and then we split into another two groups. One half of the group made salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, ham, and egg mayo sandwiches and made sure they were all identical as consistency and quality are so important!
The other half, including me, started off by making chocolate brownies, which included an incredible 40 eggs and 8 tablespoons of gluten free flour. We then made the lemon drizzle cake. The recipe said to hand whisk, so I went to use a whisk but my trainer said “No, no, no, you use your hand!” I had to put my hand in and mix it all together including eggs and crème fraiche which was cold and icky. It was delicious when cooked though!
After we had a break, we went on a tour of the grounds and spa, swimming pool, bedrooms etc. The facilities were fantastic, as you would expect from 4*+ hotel! We did a “hand over” to the other group and we then continued their work in decorating the room. I went outside to collect lavender that was growing in the grounds for the tables, which smelled amazing!
When the guests arrived, I had the very important job of handing prosecco out and meeting and greeting. Everyone enjoyed their afternoon tea very much, it was divine. The roles reversed for the tidying up as the children tidied up after the parents!
I enjoyed the day very much; it was a superb experience and I hope Archway will continue this trip for future years and that members of staff enjoyed it as much as I did. The staff at Calcot were experts and were excellent at passing on all their knowledge.
By Roberta, Year 9