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St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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Pop up restaurant

To raise money for South Oxfordshire Food and Education Alliance (SOFEA), one of the school's charities for this year, 24 students took part in a pop-up restaurant on 23 March. 12 chefs and 12 waitresses created a menu with the school's Executive Chef, Olivier Hubert. With the help of some of the school chefs the team managed to create a wonderful evening with restaurant quality food.

'I really enjoyed this experience and it gave me an insight into what life is like in a professional kitchen. It was such a great opportunity and I'm really glad that we could fund-raise for such a great charity.'

Kathryn Year 9

'The pop-up restaurant experience was like nothing I had ever done before and it is something I doubt I will ever have the chance to do again. After two sessions practising, we were all thrown into a professional restaurant environment with 97 guests ordering from the menu we had created. It was an incredibly busy night and all of us were pushed out of our comfort zone with the different time pressures and organisation challenges we faced. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and, with the help of Olivier, it was a hugely successful night.'

Ellie L6

'After many months of anxious preparation and recipe practice, the day of the St Helen's charity pop-up restaurant arrived. Participation from all year groups from Year 7–Lower Sixth made for a promising evening of teamwork and hopefully some stellar dishes. Many of the chefs had come in the night before to prepare, but the majority of the work had to be done on the Friday afternoon.

With Ruby leading the team of 12 waitresses and Olivier leading the team of 12 chefs we were all set to go. Diners enjoyed some musical entertainment upon entry thanks to Jess, Caitlin and Libby, and then service began. When orders began to fly in, and dishes were being sent out left right and centre, it was thanks to every girl in the team that the evening ran as smoothly as it did. House favourites included marinaded beef salad, Thai-spiced chicken skewers and a chocolate fondant with caramel crème (Mrs Dougall’s favourite!). After all our practice of new techniques; some of us learning how to make fresh tortellini, some learning how to present meringue and sorbet to make it a masterpiece, we were able to take, prepare and serve over 300 orders.

I think it gave all the girls involved a real peek into the world of professional cuisine and maybe opened our eyes to what working in a professional kitchen would be like.

A massive thank you to Olivier who managed to turn 24 St Helen’s girls into a team that were able to provide amazing food to over a 100 guests! All the profit raised will go to SOFEA, a local charity who work with young people to build their employability, while providing nutritious food to those in need. An amazing experience for all of us involved and a very worthy cause for all our hard work.'

Kate L6

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