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Elmwood Students Scale New Heights

Professional Cookery students were given a fishy challenge after a tie-up between Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and seafood business Aquascot.
The two organisations initially met through the academic/industry matchmaking service Interface to discuss a research project looking at innovative packaging and cooking methods for consumers preparing fish in the home.
This led to an invitation for students from SRUC’s Elmwood campus to visit Aquascot’s new product development (NPD) kitchens in Allness.
First, it was suggested that the Hospitality department at Elmwood organise a competition for students to develop salmon dishes that Aquascot could present to Waitrose for sale in its supermarkets.
Aquascot shared a Christmas brief it received from Waitrose, including ingredient lists with example costings, and asked students to take into account trends for 2020 when developing their product ideas. The company also supplied some salmon so students could prepare products in their kitchen for tasting.
The winners, Gordon Cronshaw and Kym Stirling, then visited Aquascot where they had a chance to speak to NPD chefs and get a tour of the kitchens, before preparing and presenting their products to the senior management team.
Gordon’s dish of salmon with an orange, dulse seaweed and cranberry crust, and Kym’s salmon fillet with ginger, chilli and lime, were given the seal of approval and were described as tasting ‘fantastic’.
Andy Wilson, Commercial Manager at Aquascot, said: “Both students should be proud of their ideas, their clear line of thinking and of the products they served.”
Alistair Trail, Senior Food and Drink Consultant with SAC Consulting – part of SRUC, said: “This was a really exciting opportunity for Gordon and Kym which gave them a great understanding of how the food industry designs new products for the retail market.
“SRUC is also in discussion with Aquascot about the possibility of repeating this exercise for other briefs so that more students can benefit from the relationship.”
Elmwood lecturer Mark Barker said: “Any exposure to industry is an invaluable experience for our students. We want to thank Aquascot for this unique opportunity which the students thoroughly enjoyed. They had an amazing time.”

For more information about Elmwood’s professional cookery courses visit www.sruc.ac.uk/cookery

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