Taste is Chesterfield's best kept foodie secret

Chesterfield college is well respected for the wide variety, and quality, of the courses available for students to study.

By Helen Scattergood
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 7:35 am
Hospitality lecturer Caleb Wilkes
Hospitality lecturer Caleb Wilkes

But, did you know that the college is also home to its very own fully licensed restaurant - Taste. It’s Chesterfield’s best kept secret!

The restaurant is set within the college building; but don’t expect to dine in a lecture hall or standard college refectory. Under the guidance of hospitality lecturer, Caleb Wilkes, (picttured right) the restaurant has just undergone a full makeover that has completely transformed it.

Now, when you step through the doors into Taste, you’ll actually feel like you’re walking into your favourite bistro. It’s full of character, with atmospheric lighting, sumptuous cushions, comfortable chairs and beautiful wall art. There’s even a cocktail bar to sip your favourite martinis at, or maybe just enjoy a latte or cappuccino made with the impressive espresso coffee machine.

Some of team students at Taste

Students studying hospitality at the College are the backbone of Taste restaurant. From back of house food preparation to the front of house hospitality, it’s entirely student led, forming part of their Chesterfield college course work and enabling them to sample real life, hands on, customer-facing work experience.

The college has a long-standing reputation for nurturing outstanding talent. Past students include James Greatorex - head Chef at Michelin starred restaurant L’Ortolan and former sous chef at the three Michelin starred Fat Duck in Bray.

Will Joynes, another former Chesterfield College student, was crowned South African Young Chef of the Year, 2020, in a national competition. It was organised by South African deciduous fruit growers, Hortgro, and was open to young chefs across the UK. Will, along with fellow students George Allen and Jake Parkin, were each short-listed as finalists, before George was crowned the overall winner.

The restaurant is currently open one night a week (Thursday), along with a daytime schedule (see below). The Thursday night themed event evenings at Taste are very popular. Recent events have included a Greek themed evening and an eighties evening, both of which sold out straight away. Three delicious choices to select from, plus a glass of Prosecco on arrival - and they even make their own delicious bread.

Taste

I think that maybe the secret is out. People have discovered a fabulous eatery, serving high quality, delicious food, accompanied by exceptional service at very affordable prices. Who wouldn’t want to go?

The students really do go above and beyond to ensure that everyone attending their events, has a truly enjoyable experience. The food is sourced locally, wherever possible, and cooked to professional standards.

Caleb is keen to highlight the importance of customer service within the hospitality industry. He, himself, has managed some of Chesterfield’s best restaurants and bars.

He says: “A lot of people don’t realise the importance of providing good service. It’s a skill; and one that requires practice. Hospitality is such a huge part of the UK; both in terms of employment and the economy, and needs to be recognised as a respected career choice as it is in many other countries.

"We’re so proud of our students here, and the amazing job that they are doing; it’s so rewarding to see their confidence grow during their time with us.”

The restaurant opens at selected times and offers everything from breakfast pastries and coffee, to event evenings that include three courses. Currently it opens during the following times:

Breakfast - Tuesday and Thursday: 9.30 - 11.00am. A selection of hot rolls available, delicious pastries, porridge, fruits, teas and coffees.

Lunch time bistro special - Wednesday & Friday 11.45 - 1.15pm. For just £10 you can have three mouth-wateringly, delicious courses. You can even have takeaway! The menu changes each week, but includes favourites such as lasagne, vegetarian chilli, shepherd’s pie and fish & chips.

Dinner - selected Thursday evenings (dates online). This is where the level 3 professional cooking students (who are in their final year) showcase their skills, providing a gourmet, gastronomic experience.