Bradford College students Nikita Rudding and Paul Rose with celebrity chef Tom Kerridge (centre)

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Bradford College’s student-run restaurant has been chosen as one of the top 14 college restaurants in the country.

The Grove restaurant, which is open to the public and used to train hospitality and catering students, made it onto the shortlist for the AA College Restaurant of the Year Award.

Part of the AA’s annual Hospitality Awards, the award recognises the hard work of chef lecturers and student.

The Grove, which is in the college’s city centre David Hockney Building on Great Horton Road, qualified for the award after earning an AA College Rosette following a judge’s secret visit.

Bradford College students Paul Rose and Nikita Rudding and chef lecturer Paul Johnson were among 14 college teams who attended a judging day at Park Plaza Riverbank hotel in London where they were put through a series of interviews and practical tasks by industry experts including celebrity chef Tom Kerridge.

A video about the Grove, put together by A Level Media students Eleanor Hodson and Hannah Akhtar, was also presented to the judges.

Although the Grove didn’t make the cut to the final three restaurants, from which the overall winner will be announced on September 25, taking part in judging day was hugely valuable according to lecturer Paul Johnson.

“The whole day was a whirlwind of magical experiences for the young chefs - quite the Willy Wonka moment for them,” he said.

“They came away fully inspired and motivated to get themselves to the highest standard within the industry.

“The students were given a tour of the hotel, enjoyed an exceptional lunch then heard a very inspiring talk from Tom Kerridge on his journey through the industry and how his passion continues to grow. The students then gave a presentation on the Grove restaurant and were set a task to design a new format of food design and delivery for the industry.

“It was a very worthwhile experience and we are very grateful to both People 1st the AA for the opportunity.”

An added bonus for both students was that as a result of judging day they have secured impressive work experience opportunities. Paul Rose has lined up a stint at Tom Kerridge’s Michelin starred pub the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Meanwhile Nikita Rudding will be returning to the Park Plaza to do a placement.

Garry Baldwin, senior hotel and restaurant inspector with the AA, praised all 14 shortlisted college restaurants.

He said: “We were once again blown away by the quality of the entries from the student and lecturer teams, and the energy and enthusiasm in the room was clear for all to see. It certainly wasn’t an easy decision for the judges”

Sean Wheeler, chair of the People 1st accreditation panel and director of people development at Principal Hotels, added: “Judging the awards has been a great experience – it’s fantastic to see the passion that the students have for our industry and it reiterates why it’s important for employers forge links with accredited colleges. Best of luck to the three finalists!”

Bradford College offers a wide variety of catering and hospitality courses, with places still available on courses starting this September. For more details, visit the website, call 01274 433 333 or attend the next open day on August 24