A leading local restaurant that prides itself on using fresh, local produce while training the professional chefs and hospitality staff of the future is on its way to being crowned best in the UK after reaching the finals of a national competition.

Penwith College’s Senara Restaurant in Penzance has been shortlisted in the AA College Restaurant of the Year 2022 competition following a day-long event at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on June 10.

Staff and students at the College are reportedly 'bubbling' with excitement as they are now one of only three colleges to reach the final stage, and the only College restaurant in the South West to make the shortlist.

The AA College Restaurant of the Year Award, sponsored by People 1st International, is open to colleges that have been accredited by People 1st International and achieved an AA College Rosette. The winner will be announced at the annual AA Hospitality Awards dinner on September 26.

A delighted Dave Izzard, hospitality lead at Penwith College, said: "We know how good our restaurant is and reviews from our customers back this up, however being shortlisted to the top three restaurants in the country by such a prestigious awarding body is fantastic.

"The students both worked really hard preparing for both of the initial stages of the event and are reaping the rewards now.

"Whatever the outcome in the final presentation I think it’s safe to say that we have the top college restaurant in the whole of the South West of England."

Falmouth Packet: Student chefs Emily (left) and Shay (right) with their attendance certificates outside Senara Restaurant at Penwith CollegeStudent chefs Emily (left) and Shay (right) with their attendance certificates outside Senara Restaurant at Penwith College


Dean Bungay, the catering lecturer who accompanied the students to London, added: "I was so proud of the way the students conducted themselves.

"They were confident, prepared and represented the College perfectly.

"On behalf of the team in Senara and the College I would like to thank the AA and People 1st for their ongoing support to the industry and in particular the opportunities for the development of students not just here in Penzance, but across the whole UK."

College teams attending the judging day took part in a series of activities, including delivering a presentation on inspiring future students to consider careers in hospitality, integrating how the college addresses current and future trends in the industry such as sustainability, environmental challenges and changing food styles.

In the final, the students from Senara Restaurant, Emily Earley and Shay Uren, are up against their peers from The Brasserie, Milton Keynes College and The Classroom, Cardiff & Vale College.

Professional catering student Shay from Penzance said: "In Senara we pride ourselves on using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in all of our dishes and so creating a meal with a focus on sustainability follows the ethos that we always work to where possible."

Fellow professional cookery student Emily from Pendeen added: "It was a nerve-racking experience but one not to be forgotten.

"We were really prepared and confident in our ability and the presentation with questions went well.

"We also were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Grosvenor House Hotel, and an inspirational talk by guest speaker Tom Booton, Head Chef of The Grill at The Dorchester."