April 2021 - Capital City College Group
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History teacher talks on Times Radio about the racial inequality of war commemoration

A history teacher at City and Islington College has spoken on Times Radio after contributing to a report that led to an apology and action on the racial inequality of war commemoration.

John Siblon appeared on Times Radio Drive with John Pienaar on 22 April following a public apology by the Government and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which is responsible for commemorating the war dead.

His research was included in the CWGC’s Report of the Special Committee to Review Historical Inequalities in Commemoration, undertaken following the documentary Unremembered: Britain’s Forgotten War Heroes, which was aired on Channel 4 in 2019 and presented by Tottenham MP David Lammy.

The CWGC found at least 116,000 African and Asian casualties from the First World War were not commemorated by name, or at all. Many of these were young boys taken from their villages who acted as auxiliaries carrying food and equipment.

During the radio interview, John, who is working towards a PhD that looks into war memory, said: “I’m really pleased it has been such a high-profile response, because that’s what’s needed.

“The whole country really needs to know about this omission and this mistake, and for it to be acted on as quickly as possible. All the evidence points to a thinking at that time that looked at black lives being worth less than white lives.”

John explained that war cemeteries in Britain and Europe have headstones to African and Asian servicemen, but further afield many were left where they lay when they died.

He said: “Their lives and their bodies were literally seen as worthless, and that really fits in with the thinking of that period that corresponded with racial hierarchy.”

John’s research Negotiating Hierarchy and Memory: African and Caribbean Troops from Former British Colonies in London’s Imperial Spaces; and Race, Rank and the Politics of Inter-war Commemoration of African and Caribbean Servicemen in Britain, were referenced in the CWGC report.

The report made 10 recommendations including an ongoing commitment to continue searching for unnamed war dead and those not commemorated, better education on the sacrifices made by underrepresented communities and the building of new memorials.

Apply now to study A Level History at CANDI at our Angel and Enfield Centres.

Korean K-Cuisine Saturday Workshops – Book Now!

Are you aged 16+, with a passion for food and looking to immerse yourself into the Korean culture? With the K-Wave creating a phenomenon worldwide, including the rise of pop group BTS and the tv show Squid Game having everyone hooked on Netflix, WestKing are re-launching the K-Cuisine workshops, teaching you how to make a variety of delicious Korean dishes.

K-Cuisine will be run by our experienced Chef lecturers, where you will have the opportunity to make a selection of Korean dishes. This year we will also be offering specific Kimchi sessions. Perfect for all levels and abilities – whether you’re a novice or more experienced chef, giving you the opportunity to try something new and experience new flavour combinations!

The hands-on half-day workshops will be hosted in our renowned training kitchens, the same kitchens where former students TV chefs Jamie Oliver and Ainsley Harriott learnt the trade.

The Street Food K-Cuisine workshops (14 May & 11 June), will have a K drama theme including dishes such as the ever-popular Korean corn dog (as seen in K drama ‘Start-Up)’, Honeycomb dalgona (can you take on the delicate candy-cutting challenge as seen in Squid Game..?) and Tteokbokki (as seen in ‘Vincenzo’).

At the Kimchi workshop (21 May), you will try your hand at making this traditional Korean dish, abundant in flavour and health benefits. Recipes will include making kimchi pancake and bibimbap.

The final workshop will be a Vegan Workshop, (18 June). This session will have a focus on food sustainability, so If you are interested in how a healthy plate can equal a healthy planet then this is the workshop for you. Dishes of the day will include Potato Pancake, Mayak Gimbap (Mini seaweed rolls) and One-pot vegetable rice bowl

You can choose one of the workshops for £60, or attend both at a reduced fee.

After the workshop, you will be able to take home your dishes. Dishes can be catered to most dietary requirements – please let us know your individual requirements in the booking form.

The workshops will run on a Saturday from 10am to 1pm, at the college’s Victoria Centre in central London.

Each workshop costs £60 or £100 for two workshops (You will recieve a code to get £20 off your second workshop once you book – look out for the email)!

These events are now closed. For future events please see our news page or for enquiries, please email international@westking.ac.uk

Film and media student works on Netflix hit drama Top Boy

A film and media student at Westminster Kingsway College has told of her “amazing experience” after getting the chance to work on hit Netflix show Top Boy.

Ronni Winter, 18, from Waltham Forest, worked on set during filming for the fourth series of the hard-hitting crime drama, which is due to be released later this year.

The award-winning series was first broadcast on Channel 4 in 2011 and received positive feedback from critics. A second series followed before it was revived by Netflix for a third season in 2019.

Ronni, who is studying A Levels in Film Studies, Media Studies and Sociology, said: “Being on the set of Top Boy was an amazing experience. There was so much team effort and reliance on each department for everything to run smoothly.

“I was able to learn a lot of new skills and network with so many inspirational people, which has helped me decide what aspects of film I enjoy working in the most.”

Ronni had the opportunity to work on the programme through her involvement with Million Youth Media (MYM), an initiative by production company Fully Focused to give young people skills and experience to pursue a career in film.

Her placement was part of the Set Ready Training programme run by Fully Focused and FilmFixer, a location management company used by the producers of Top Boy.

“I want to work in the film industry because it’s so imaginative and explorative. The idea that so many people’s ideas and abilities can come together to create something visually timeless is beautiful,” she said.

Ronni joined MYM two years ago and has worked on a number of productions including the pilot episode of BBC Three comedy PRU, about a group of teenagers in a pupil referral unit, which featured her artwork.

PRU stars Pia Somersby, a Performing Arts student at WestKing’s sister college City and Islington College, and has been commissioned for a full series.

“I’ve always been creative and enjoy coming up with new ideas. I felt very proud and motivated when I saw my art on PRU that the director had asked me to design,” said Ronni.

“I have had such a positive experience with MYM. It’s like having another family and given me the chance to try a lot of different media roles, and really inspired me to keep pushing towards the place I want to be in life.”

Lecture to celebrate 100th birthday of culinary legend Ron Kinton

Westminster Kingsway College and the Institute of Hospitality are to host a lecture to celebrate the 100th birthday of culinary legend Ron Kinton.

The Ron Kinton Anniversary Lecture is being held in recognition of the chef, author and educationist’s huge influence on the catering profession and his lifetime of dedication to the industry.

The lecture, which is to be an annual event, will feature inspirational talks from leading industry figures including alumni from the college’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

It will be streamed live online from the college’s Victoria Centre on Wednesday 28 April at 3pm.

Ron Kinton, who turned 100 in January, recognised along with fellow chef Victor Cesarani that there was a need for a dedicated cookery book for catering students.

Writing everything in longhand, they would go on to produce the first 10 editions of Practical Cookery and the first 11 editions of The Theory of Catering, with later volumes being co-written by Professor David Foskett, a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (FIH).

Both books are widely regarded by the industry as culinary bibles and are still used by catering students throughout the world.

He is also the co-author of several other leading textbooks including Advanced Practical Cookery, Contemporary Cookery, Kitchen & Larder Work and Patisserie & Confectionery.

Ron Kinton trained at the college, then Westminster Technical Institute, in 1936 and began his culinary career at the Waldorf Hotel and Claridge’s. He joined the Army Catering Corps at the outbreak of the Second World War, working his way up to the ranks of Sergeant Instructor at the Army Catering School of Cookery.

After the war, he returned to Claridge’s and then worked in catering for industrial giant ICI. He then trained to become a teacher and was one of the founding members of Acton Hotel School, which would later move to a new location and become Ealing School of Hotel Keeping and Catering, and subsequently the University of West London. In 1978 he graduated with a BEd (Hons) from Garnett College.

Speaking at the first lecture will be Wendy Bartlett MBE FIH, founder of contract caterer Bartlett Mitchell; Frederick Forster, Head Chef of Read’s restaurant in Faversham; and Sal Gowili FIH and John Williams MBE, General Manager and Executive Chef of The Ritz London, respectively.

Gary Hunter FIH, interim principal of Westminster Kingsway College, said: “Ron Kinton’s story is still hugely inspirational and just shows just where a career in hospitality can take you.

“The fact students here at WestKing and around the world still use The Theory of Catering as part of their learning, is testament to how influential he has been in education and how respected he remains within the industry.

“Ron’s work has had an impact on so many, which is why we and our good friends at the Institute of Hospitality wanted to celebrate his life, passion and commitment in this way.”

Peter Ducker FIH, outgoing Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, said, “The Institute of Hospitality is delighted to be launching the inaugural Ron Kinton Anniversary Lecture with Westminster Kingsway College.

“Ron started training for his career at Westminster Technical Institute aged 15. I picture him then, when he could not have thought in his wildest dreams where his career would take him, or what a massive impact he would have on future generations. I read his book The Theory of Catering as a student in the 1970s and it’s still in print today.

“I hope that Ron’s remarkable story, and the amazing journeys our speakers at this event have had, will strike a chord with students today and inspire them. I love the thought that perhaps many decades from now a student, inspired by our speakers and Ron’s example, will be celebrated in a similar way.”

Autistic Student Creates Film on Race and Gender Equality

A student with autism has revealed how creating an animated short film at college to promote race and gender equality helped him to cope with the condition. Jack Reddington, 23, was among the students making films on equality while studying for a Diploma in Games Design and Animation at CONEL.

The completion of the film coincided with World Autism Awareness Week, a campaign by the National Autistic Society to raise awareness of the condition that affects 700,000 people in the UK. Autism is a lifelong disability that affects how people communicate and interact with the world. 

Jack scripted, produced and edited the film, which features simple animated figures of people from different backgrounds to explain racial, religious and gender equality. He lives in Enfield and was diagnosed with autism when he was two.

Jack said: “Sometimes I get distracted and find it hard to concentrate. Creating animations has really helped me to focus more and keep my attention. 

“I like being creative, coming up with ideas and solving problems with others, and I was very proud of the positive reaction of my teachers and classmates to the film. My teachers have been great, and I have learnt a lot from them. They have given me lots of tips and advice. If I struggle with a bit of work, they help me to get it done.”

Jack’s mum Bernie, 56, said: “Jack finds it socially hard and tends to keep himself to himself although we have encouraged him to make friends. The staff at CONEL have been fantastic from day one. They have been very patient with him. Nothing has been too much trouble.”

Jack started at CONEL on a Level 1 course in September 2016 and is expected to complete the Level 3 Extended Diploma, the equivalent of three A Levels, this summer. During his time at CONEL, Jack has produced many other creative 3D animations during his studies including a sword that turns into a utility tool and then a pogo stick.

He has also attended RGX Rezzed, London’s leading gaming event at Tobacco Dock in Wapping, and taken part in e-sports tournaments with other students on his course.

Tamara Lesniewska, Lecturer in Creative Digital Media, said: “When Jack started at the college four years ago, we were not sure how he would cope with a diverse group of students – school leavers and adults – let alone the demands of the curriculum projects. Now he is in his final year and contemplating whether to do a higher education course or venture into the world of work.

“Jack is a skilled animator with a fantastic imagination. He enjoys drawing and seeing his work come to life using graphics tablets and professional software. He has a quirky, fun personality and is always happy to share his ideas and give a helpful hand to his peers. With the right support and guidance, we believe the creative possibilities for Jack are endless.” 

Visionnaires finds its 200th graduate in Jay Patel’s Flavour Street

In February, Visionnaires celebrated their 200th graduate, Jay Patel, whose Flavour Street hospitality business is now set to break into a competitive London market. Visionnaires is a social enterprise helping entrepreneurs succeed in business. It is the brainchild of Pablo Lloyd, OBE, and was co-founded with Capital City College Group in 2018. The organisation provides mentors, training and guidance to people looking to start a new business, with programmes created by entrepreneurs providing practical tips and tools.

Jay Patel is new to the hospitality industry and applied to Visionnaires for a mentorship in order to develop key skills.

“I have always been a massive foodie,” says Jay, 29, who studied Economics at the City University of London and was a banker before his career change. “I have family in hospitality and I have always been around it, but had never really done anything about it.

“I was in banking and decided I wanted to try something different. I joined a friend’s start-up, which was then affected by COVID. Out of that, I had the idea for Flavour Street.”

Jay describes his new venture as a “marketplace for home cooks to come online and easily share their food with the local community.” Last year, research group Mintel predicted online food delivery to be “one of the only winners” of the pandemic.

“There is a lot of demand for home-cooked meals at the moment,” explains Jay. “But if you don’t live in Zone 1 or Zone 2, the choice of food gets smaller and smaller. It’s hard to get good quality food outside of central London. The Flavour Street platform lets people with a passion for cooking and furloughed chefs sell their food without the hassle. And consumers can have the trust, too; we have a vetting process for each cook and require hygiene accreditation.”

To take his idea forward, Jay signed up to Visionnaires in December, undergoing an intensive training period in sales, networking and marketing. After a two-week crash course, Jay was placed with mentor Michael Ingemann, Chairman of THINK Hospitality, to develop his business model.

“Michael has a vast knowledge in the industry and a different perspective on things. Working with him helps me zoom out sometimes. Also, he has a wide network of contacts who he has put me in touch with. I think the marketing part of the programme was the most helpful for me. I learnt how to plan out a campaign in a structured way and how to space out posts. Also, I learnt a lot from the other participants in the program too.”

Jay is looking forward to launching his business in south east London, and aims to expand it in the coming months.

Find out more about Visionnaires here.

“How Can Colleges Support London’s Economic Recovery”

Our CEO, Roy O’Shaughnessy, has penned a blog for Collab Group in the lead-up to the London Mayoral Elections entitled “How Can Colleges Support London’s Economic Recovery”. Ahead of the election on 6 May 2021, Collab Group have run a series of blogs from colleges on the future work between Further Education (FE) institutions and the London economy. Collab Group represents a network of 35 colleges and group in the United Kingdom and works with civic and business communities to develop education and its delivery.

In the blog, Roy highlights the need for a clear industrial plan around which colleges can tailor their provisions to employer needs. The Adult Skills and Lifelong Learning debate last week touched upon similar points as it considered the Third Report of the Education Committee.

He said: “As Britain deliberates over its recovery, its colleges must now focus on training and retraining a generation of people ready to assert themselves on the economy of tomorrow, whatever form it might take. I know that our colleges can provide the answer, using our experience to help learners make the most of their own unique contribution to London’s future.”

Michelin Star Chefs and TV Cooks Dish Up Recipe for Success

Michelin star restaurateurs and TV cooks were among the guest chefs serving up advice to students at Westminster Kingsway College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

Top chefs including Alain Roux, Brian Turner CBE, Cyrus Todiwala OBE and Cherish Finden took part in a series of online chats with culinary arts and hospitality students during March.

They gave advice on career opportunities and shared their experience on designing menus, creating healthy and nutritious dishes and exceeding their guests’ expectations.

James Frost, 18, who is studying a Professional Chef diploma, said: “The passion the chefs had for cooking really came across and was very inspiring. They gave clear answers to my questions and explained how to present yourself and what chefs look for in an employee.

“We’ve been in lockdown and you can lose your motivation, but this has really helped build that up again. It gave me a lot of different options on where I could take my career and opened my eyes to new opportunities.”

The chefs were optimistic and confident that the industry would recover from the impact of COVID and there would be opportunities for new chefs and apprentices in their kitchens.

Alain Roux, Chef Patron of The Waterside Inn in Berkshire, said: “For any person starting in the industry, I will do everything I can to open my door. Think and stay positive as things will get back to normal and there will be a bright future.”

On applying for jobs, he added: “Don’t be scared, even if it’s a dream. There are no names or places that are too big. If you don’t try, you don’t know.”

Brian Turner, best known for his TV appearances on This Morning and Ready, Steady, Cook, recommended students to have a career plan. “Be like a sponge, absorb everything, work as much as you can” he said.

The chefs also told students how they find inspiration for their menus and spoke about the recent increase in appetite for more vegetarian and vegan cooking.

Andrew Wong, Chef Patron of A Wong restaurant in Victoria, explained how he initially put his own twist on dishes that had inspired him on trips to the Far East.

Gary Jones, Executive Chef at Raymond Blanc’s restaurant Le Manoir near Oxford, said he took inspiration from the seasonal produce grown in its grounds. He said: “I always start with the season and what ingredients are available, and then think how I am going to come up with something new or take something to the next level and make it even better than it was before.”

Cyrus Todiwala, Proprietor and Chef at Café Spice Namasté in Newham, who has appeared on TV shows including Saturday Kitchen, said it was important to gain a better understanding of plants to create dishes that are better for the environment. “We are seeing a huge growth in the demand for plant-based food on our menus, and people wanting to know exactly where their food has been sourced and produced,” he said.

Andy Aston, Head of Wellness and Nutrition at catering provider Baxter Storey, also extolled the virtues of a plant-based diet and how he uses nuts, grains and vegetables in much of his cooking.

Chantelle Nicholson, Chef Patron at Tredwells, agreed on the importance of using ethically sourced ingredients when creating dishes. “I believe in regeneratively farmed meat and sustainable fish. I think we can and should do everything better,” she said.

Cherish Finden, Executive Pastry Chef at Pan Pacific London and a judge on Bake Off: The Professionals, explained how she often substitutes sugar with honey and cream with coconut or soya milk to make her dishes healthier. When questioned on what employers look for in future chefs, she added that she wanted to see a spark in the person’s eyes and a passion for food.

The chefs also spoke about the important connection between healthy eating and a healthy mind, particularly in relation to anxiety during lockdown. Simon Boyle, Founder of Beyond Food Foundation, explained how healthy food is good for the mind and how the charity has helped homeless and vulnerable people find fulfilment through cooking.

On the importance of entering competitions, Hayden Groves, Chef Consultant and former National Chef of the Year, said: “Win, lose or draw, you learn a lot. You learn about ingredients and how to maximise the impact of flavour and manipulate it and how to get the best out of yourself.”

Ben Purton, Culinary Director of the hospitality recruitment company Off To Work, advised students to consider opportunities across the sector from hotel kitchens and restaurants to football stadiums, cruise ships and contract catering. On getting into the industry, he said: “Make sure your passion and attitude comes across as much as you can. Let me buy into you as a person, especially at interview.”

All the chefs recommended the advice and support available through professional organisations including the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and the Craft Guild of Chefs.

WestKing is one of the country’s leading colleges for hospitality and culinary arts courses and apprenticeships. Paul Jervis, Head of School for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at WestKing, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to get a real insight into what it takes to succeed in the culinary and hospitality industry from some of the best chefs in the country.

“I would like to thank each of the chefs for giving up their valuable time to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with the next generation of chefs we are training at WestKing, and inspiring them with their passion and enthusiasm for cooking.”

Queen's Award for Enterprise