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Dr B’s Kitchen marks key milestones with Gourmet Night

Pictured (l-r) are Marcus Robinson, Andrew Gibb Dr B’s Chef and Mentor, Rebecca Hayes, Katie Louise Ferguson, Shannon Topping and Tom Osborne Dr B’s Chef and Mentor

Dr B’s Kitchen in Belfast city centre, which is run by Barnardo’s to train young people with learning disabilities for a career in the catering industry, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Barnardo’s has also been marking its 150th anniversary throughout 2016. To mark both milestones Dr B’s Kitchen recently held a Gourmet Night which was open to the public and raised over £4000 for the children’s charity.

Dr B’s Manager Clare McCaughey said: “The Gourmet Night was a one-off but it took a huge amount of planning. They were practising dishes for two weeks before and in the days leading up to it as much preparation was done as possible. It gave the trainees the opportunity to experience working in a fine dining environment. They loved all the excitement and those in the kitchens really enjoyed having responsibility at the different stations while those who were front of house also experienced a completely different style of service. They all rose to the occasion.”

Trainee Rebecca Hayes (16) from Belfast who prepared the canapés said: “It really boosted my confidence. Everything had to be precise and as the canapés were the first thing to go out they set the scene so they had to be perfect. It was a really fast paced service but I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

Matthew Jeffery (17) also from Belfast was front of house and said his family were really proud of him: “My family came along and I really wanted to impress them. They were really pleased for me. I was on my feet all night but it was so good to get the experience.”

Chef Tom Osborne said: “All the trainees excelled. We made it as close to industry standard as possible so that it was a real learning opportunity. The trainees have all different learning support needs but it doesn’t hold them back. They proved they can cook at a high level and it really raised their confidence. They all thoroughly deserved the standing ovation they received at the end.”

The menu for the evening included Coronation chicken tartlets with pomegranate seed canapés, a rabbit terrine starter with blackberry and juniper chutney on tomato and oregano crispbreads, a duck fillet with celeriac and pear remoulade and a creamy peach Bavarian with almond crust and candied peaches.

Dr B‘s Gourmet Night was generously supported by Dr B’s suppliers Lynas Foodservice and North Down Group. Other suppliers and supporters provided auction and raffle prizes.

This year is Barnardo’s 150th anniversary. It was founded in 1866 by Dublin born Dr Thomas Barnardo and is the oldest and biggest children’s charity. Dr B’s Kitchen was established in 1991 and has an 80% success rate in securing permanent employment for its trainees. Dr B’s Kitchen is open 8.30am – 3pm Monday to Friday Bridge Street, Belfast city centre. For further information about Dr B’s visit Dr B’s Kitchen on facebook or www.barnardos.org.uk/northernireland.

Dr B’s is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), the Department for the Economy, the Disability Employment Service (DES) and Barnardo’s NI.

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