Katie Birch was on the ABC Catering and Professional Cookery Level 1 course finishing in 2012. Here, we can read about her memories of life at City College Norwich.
Making Bubbles and a re-mix in the Microwave!
Katie recalls one her friends, Jordan, was always filling up the kitchen sink every time she walked into the room even before they’d started cooking!
Another time, when her teacher Andy was off sick, Katie and her classmates had to work in a different kitchen and there was a talking microwave! She said
‘My friend Karl made us laugh by remixing what it was saying.’
A proud moment…..
One day the class were making donuts and pork pies. The teachers, Julie and Jane said that the girls made the best of the class, Katie felt very proud of her cooking at that moment!
There’s ‘Snow’ stopping Katie!
One day it was snowing and Katie listened to the radio to see which schools/colleges were closed. She says
“I didn’t care if it was snowing, I was determined to go to college!”
Not hearing the college listed as closed on the radio, within ten minutes she was out of the door! When she got to college, she started looking for her classmates, hoping she wasn’t the only one who turned up. Four others arrived so they went looking for their tutor Andy and found him in the kitchen.
After changing into their chef gear, they were told they were making gingerbread houses that day!
“It was so much fun! We were able to decorate them in any way we wished and then take them home.
I had to walk home so I was hoping it wouldn’t break, it was so fragile!
My mum was amazed by it and kept it for our Christmas dessert. My mum, step-dad and grandad loved the gingerbread house. That was definitely my best day at college ever!”
A fine dining experience!
Having never served in a fine dining restaurant Katie remembers feeling very nervous when she started in the college’s Debut restaurant! Luckily, her tutor, Alan George soon made her feel relaxed.
Katie’s dad came to visit Debut as a customer when she was serving. The Level 2 hospitality students were doing seating arrangements and realised that Mr Birch was Katie’s Dad eating by himself!
A nice end to the meal as Alan let Katie have dessert with her Dad!
Catering in Paris…….
In order to learn about different cooking techniques, Katie and her classmates had the opportunity to go to Paris with the college.
“It was a great time, learning about different styles of cooking!
We all had hoodies made for our visit to Paris, I still have mine. It’s sky blue with my initials and the year 2012. On the back it has the shape of the Eiffel Tower made out of montage of everybody’s last names!”
A date to remember!
The catering students from the college were invited to assist with catering for the Queens Diamond Jubilee at her Sandringham Estate on June 12th 2012.
Katie remembers this as the best experience she’s ever had! They were making over 1000 scones for the day, as well as being a great experience she does also recall being nervous and worried about messing up!
She also helped by serving iced tea, coffee and sandwiches before the bell rang (this meant that the Queen was coming).
“We all rushed out of the tents and made two lines so that the Queen could walk through and meet the guests.
I was about 4 feet away and managed to get a glimpse of her, I was so excited!
Once service ended everyone helped themselves to the leftovers in the kitchen before being called in the tent by our mentors Alan, Claire, Moira and Ann.
They told us what a fantastic job we had done and we received a coin from the Queen and a note in the box saying ‘Thank You’ and the date: 12th June 2012.”
A helping hand from MINT!
After leaving college, Katie’s teacher, Claire suggested she join MINT as they could help her to get a job.
During a meeting with Shelagh, who is a job coach, Katie was told about MINT and how they could help her get a job. Shelagh helped her with a CV and with preparation for interviews acting as her job coach for a long time.
After a while, Katie’s job coach changed to Mark, he got her a day’s work experience at Aviva.
“I loved it!
Aviva then offered me employment and Mark helped me to settle into my new job role.
Even after employment, if I needed MINT they would be there, helping me any way they can. My job coaches were wonderful and gave me all the support and confidence I needed!”
Fast forward and the future…….
In the year she left college, Katie had a busy year!
She completed the Race for Life, went Water Rafting, and then met Greg Wallace at a book signing at the Ideal Home Expedition, became a young leader for 7th Norwich Guides and last but not least she got her job.
In 2013, Katie had a poem published in the Young Writers Book 2013!
2015 was adrenaline charged, Katie went Skydiving in Beccles for Cancer Research UK raising £445 in October 2015!
Katie is still in her role with Aviva as a full-time kitchen assistant. Not content with just that, she is also writing a book