We received an invitation to take part in a competition to create a feast with the theme of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! See below for Ms Slaam’s report of how we did.
Head of Careers, Mrs Davies, gave Mrs Chesters an invitation from North Lancs Training Partnership to select a team for this contest. As the faculty Teaching Assistant, I was to oversee the team and take the students on the day of the competition. Two students were selected by both Mrs Chesters (Textiles) and Mrs O’Boyle (Catering) to come together to create a feast for the theme and design a cake stand and table display. The Textiles students were Hannana and Nimra and the Catering students were Hajra and Fatema.
The two teams came together to discuss the theme and decide on the table decoration that would be used, as choosing props and preparation before the day were permitted. A selection of props were also available from the organisers on the day. The girls took inspiration from the modern film by Tim Burton and went for wild and colourful creations. The food menu was just as wonderful, colourful and inventive.
With just a week to go for the competition, the girls settled on the iconic bridge scene where the chocolate river runs underneath. Fatema took charge of the main team and led the others with huge energy and ambition. Hannana was a perfect sub-team leader for the table decoration side; she set up a tablecloth that would have a scenery appliqued on it. Fatema was insistent that we have more 3D decorations to bring everything to life and make it more interactive and outrageous, to fit in with the extravagant ideas portrayed in Tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Hannana and Nimra decided that each winning character should have a placemat in the shape of the golden ticket. This they created on Corel Draw and laser-printed on gold-coloured acrylic, which looked fantastic.
The first choice of a chocolate fountain was not available; instead I supplied the fondue for the chocolate river to flow into. A brown scarf was used to make a 3D river flowing into the fondue! Hajra borrowed a hat from the drama department for her and Hannana to make Willy Wonka’s top hat. Hannana and Nimra transformed a black bowler hat into a purple top hat with purple fabric and cardboard. I offered to make a factory gate from acrylic to put at the head of the table. We lost Thursday to snow because school was closed, and it was not easy to keep calm and create everything we needed for our final feast.
Fatema and Hajra thought it would be brilliant to use fresh fruit kebabs to dip in to the chocolate fondue. They discussed their menu with Mrs O’Boyle then independently came up with an amazing variety of cakes and biscuits for the feast. It truly was an inspiring feast, for which Rob, one of the Chef’s from North Lancs Training Partnership, praised the girl’s calmness, cooking manner and organisation. He was very impressed with the ingenuity, the quantity of food that the girls produced and the meticulous way they followed their plan of cooking. Fatema and Hajra bought some ingredients they felt they could not do without, fresh fruit and some sweets to make the feast extremely outrageous.
On the day of the competition the excitement was palpable, and not even the minibus being double-booked registered with the girls. They just wanted to be at the venue doing what they had been planning for the whole week. On the minibus to the North Lancs Training Centre was when Fatema and Hajra discovered they were expected to make a roulade. Fatema started panicking because she had never heard of a roulade, Hajra did an amazing job of keeping calm and instilled some calm into Fatema. I explained that it was just a fancy swiss roll, nothing that they couldn’t do, just add extra filling and decorations. The journey there was anxious, tense and rushed!
We arrived minutes before the deadline. Unloading the minibus and transferring the props into the venue was a rush in time to start the competition. One of the photographers was impressed with our top hat. One of the other schools was also so impressed with the hat that their teacher made small top hats from paper cups for her team. She got purple tissue paper and card and made the hats while the students were in separate areas, creating their menu and centrepiece for the table.
“At the start of the competition, I was feeling very worried,
but being in the presence of people who made me think positively,
it made me accomplish the best that I could.
It was a very unique experience and a great opportunity
to show our creativity. I had a great time.”
– Nimrah –
The relief on Fatema’s face was clear for all to see when the chefs explained that they would offer assistance with anything that the students needed: she seemed to visibly relax. Once Fatema went into the kitchen she was in her element, busying away with the roulade they were expected to make. From the monitor in the main waiting area I could see the girls in the kitchen working together in perfect harmony. I made occasional visits to the workshop to check in on Hannana and Nimra to see the centrepiece for the table coming together beautifully. Hannana took the hat into the workshop to decorate it for the centrepiece, then brought it out simply perched on top. Very effective.
All in all it was a nervous time to sit and watch the girls knowing how tense they were all week preparing for competition day! I had such complete faith in both my teams that I was able to relax and read my book.
After lunch we put both elements together and created our interpretation of a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed feast, using some of the props supplied by the organisers and our own made at school. The girls improvised creatively because the table was only small. They used the backs of the chairs to spread the tablecloth over so as to display all the applique design on it.
“I think being able to have this opportunity was a great experience.
It brought the two different departments together to create a masterpiece.
I think working in a professional working environment gave us a hint
on what the working life will be like.”
– Hajra –
The judges cast their eye over the tables on display and tasted the food to mark all entrants and named Witton Park Academy the winners on that day. We went forward to the Final. We had four tense days waiting to hear who the overall winners, second place and third place finalists were, before Mrs K Davies was e-mailed – to congratulate us on our win!