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Ice Cook School in Rougham hosts world class chefs Benoit Blin and Akemi Yokoyama for special 'inspiration day'

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World class chefs were on hand at a cookery school to inspire students around the world.

Benoit Blin, head pastry chef at Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and judge on Bake Off: The Professionals, and Akemi Yokoyama, from Gohan, London, were two of the star names for a special cookery skills event at ICE Cook School, Rougham Industrial Estate, Rougham, Suffolk, last Friday.

Others included Mark Poynton, of The Shepherds, Cambridge, John Jackaman and Barney O’Connell, from Ice Cook School, Chris Lee, of C&H Hotels and The Three Kings, Fornham, Adam Smith, of Coworth Park, Ascot, and Ed Keith, Hallgarten and Novum Wines.

Benoit Blin with students from West Suffolk College.  Picture submitted
Benoit Blin with students from West Suffolk College.  Picture submitted

The event, called Passion to Inspire, is an annual event to encourage and inspire the next generation of chefs with a skills day and a competition day. It has been running since 2009.

The skills day on Friday was hosted by Steve Munkley, former executive chef at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, and now a consultant. The theme was the secrets of Japanese cuisine and the event was supported by the Japanese Embassy.

Students from 12 colleges across the UK attended, including students from West Suffolk College. The event was also live streamed around the world.

Students attended from 12 UK colleges
Students attended from 12 UK colleges

Murray Chapman, founder of Passion to Inspire, said: “What a culinary journey this was.

“Twelve different colleges attended this year’s Passion to Inspire Upskill Day at ICE, with another 30 colleges cooking and watching online. In total we had over 1,200 students and lecturers involved worldwide.

“Inspiring young chefs is so important and this day is a key part of what we do at Passion to Inspire.”

ICE Cook School is a state-of-the-art facility which hosts cookery classes as well as welcoming guests to its lunch bar and dining experiences.

Benoit Blin
Benoit Blin

John Jackaman, managing director, said: “It was a real honour to have the opportunity to welcome such extraordinary talent to ICE.

“Passion to Inspire is a great initiative which goes from strength to strength each year and we are always proud to be involved, especially following such a difficult time for the hospitality industry.

“Bringing on and encouraging new chefs is more important now than ever. The students who attended on the day were really engaged and delighted to get the opportunity to learn from such experienced chefs and will remember this day for a long time to come.”