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News, Blogs & Press Releases » University College Oxford Expanding Plant-based Excellence.

University College Oxford Expanding Plant-based Excellence.

Maz,tutor, with chefs from University College Oxford

The University College Oxford catering team were already at the top of their game, but with a demand for more vegetarian and plant-based dishes and a desire to encourage more people to try plant-based as part of their sustainability plan,

they needed a fast, bespoke skill-sharing session from experts. Which is why in late March 2024, the Vegetarian Society Cookery School team headed to Oxford.

The University College Oxford catering team caters for Fellows of the College, students, guests, visitors and conferencing, so a wide variety of cooking styles and service are used. They cater for all diets and wanted to improve the range and repertoire of their plant-based dishes.

Prior to the skills session, Sam Linford-Platt, Head of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School had liaised with Darren Lomas, Executive Chef at University College Oxford, to investigate the areas they were keen to finesse. This meant when tutors, Maz and Nikita, visited, they had skill sessions specifically curated for the team at the college. The skills and ingredients were wide ranging from creating oyster mushroom scallops, to walnut meat for tacos and tackled tricky tofu to create bánh mí.

Darren shared his thoughts on the experience: “I had previously sent individual team members to the Vegetarian Cookery School for training; it proved very informative for them and the wider team when sharing their knowledge on their return. We had arranged 2 days of training, starting early, it was run at a good pace with lots of interaction between my team and the trainers.”

“We had a very constructive two days at the university with two passionate trainers. I had worked with Sam to come up with some dates out of term which would enable us to effectively close a very busy kitchen to facilitate the training. Having the opportunity to bring all the chefs together for the two days without the distraction of the usual days demands enabled plenty of headspace to get creative and fully engage in the training.”

The key take-aways from the training for Darren were… “There are definitely dishes the chefs learnt which will be introduced into the menus immediately.  The good thing about the training is that it encouraged the chefs to try and taste new techniques and ingredients which will then naturally make their way into future dishes.”

Sam said: “We were really excited to work with Darren’s team at University College.  Their desire to add more plant-based dishes as part of their sustainability plan is to be commended. To introduce chefs to new skills, flavours, textures, and ingredients that will enhance their menus is what we at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School look forward to; it’s about working together. We are also very aware of the practicalities of working kitchens and their teams, so were happy to create a bespoke programme to really inspire them.”

The Vegetarian Society Cookery School works with restaurants, hospitals and schools across the UK to enhance their vegetarian and vegan menus. As the foremost authority in vegetarian cooking, we have a global appeal, with chefs from all over the world honing their craft and our training chefs teaching in all sorts of kitchen. Find out about training.

ENDS

Notes to editors

For media enquiries and images please contact Su via press@vegsoc.org

For media enquiries for University College Oxford please contact Sara Dewsbery, Communications Officer sara.dewsbery@univ.ox.ac.uk / 01865 276602.

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