Catterick catering student cooks up a storm in Venice

Alisha Goddard.

A Catterick Garrison catering student proved to be on the boil after her knowledge of the industry secured her a place in the final of a prestigious culinary competition in Venice.

Darlington College student Alisha Goddard was one of 25 contestants to reach the last stage of the CombiGuru contest, hosted by Italian oven manufacturer Unox.

She was accompanied to the UNESCO World Heritage site by her tutor Dawn Cobb-Neate where they were guests of the company.

Alisha took part in the final where she had just three hours to prepare, cook and serve a two-course meal of main and dessert dishes from a box of mystery ingredients.

She was judged by Unox chefs on her preparation, cooking techniques, plating of the dishes and taste of the food.

She and Dawn also enjoyed a VIP tour of Venice. Dawn said: “While Alisha didn’t win, it was a fabulous trip. We went to a Michelin star restaurant for lunch and spent the whole time with Michelin star chef Nathan Davies, who also helped mark the competitors’ dishes.”

Alisha, 16, a first year Level 2 professional cookery student, who lives in Catterick Garrison, added: “I was a bit scared but also very excited. The competition was stressful but I like being put under pressure.

“I did a chicken ballotine and chocolate frangipane tart, which went well, but I didn’t expect to be judged by a Michelin star chef. He was really nice and gave me a lot of feedback and encouragement.

“I hadn’t been to Venice before and it was amazing. I’m so glad I took part in the competition, it has really inspired and made me more determined to chase my dream of working in New York.”

Alisha has been interested in cookery for the past three years and enjoys working with meat and vegetables.

Dawn added: “We strive to broaden the horizons of our students as much as possible so competing in Venice was an incredible opportunity. It was an amazing experience which, I’m sure, will shape her future in the industry.”