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News: Pro­fes­sion­al chef returns to Col­lege to inspire students

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Catering students smiling stood around some food dishes they had created
Catering students smiling stood around some food dishes they had created

A group of trainee chefs have been giv­en a taste of Asian-style flavours and cook­ing tech­niques, thanks to a vis­it from pro­fes­sion­al chef duo, Hira Thakur and Paul Thack­er, who run a suc­cess­ful Asian, fine-din­ing pop-up restau­rant across Nottingham. 

The pair’s love of Asian-inspired dish­es brought them togeth­er, and was the cat­a­lyst for their busi­ness ven­ture, Naka­ma, trans­lat­ed as friend in Japan­ese, which they launched in March this year. Since then they have been busy host­ing a num­ber of suc­cess­ful pop-up events, and this is the sec­ond vis­it to the College’s Adams Restau­rant this year. 

Hira, who grew up in a small Himalayan vil­lage in the far north of India where his fam­i­ly owned orchards, moved to Not­ting­ham just five years ago where he com­plet­ed the Pro­fes­sion­al Chefs Diplo­ma at Not­ting­ham Col­lege (for­mer­ly ncn). He’s worked in some of the city’s most pop­u­lar restau­rants, includ­ing Nottingham’s renowned World Ser­vice, and says that return­ing to the Col­lege kitchen where he honed his cook­ing skills, is his way of giv­ing some­thing back. 

It was great to return to Not­ting­ham Col­lege, and once again, the stu­dents impressed us with their enthu­si­asm and will­ing­ness to learn some­thing new. It feels good to give some­thing back, and by pro­vid­ing them with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with us in a pro­fes­sion­al envi­ron­ment, on a more com­pli­cat­ed menu, hope­ful­ly we’ve inspired them and intro­duced them to some new flavours and dif­fer­ent styles of cooking. 

Naka­ma — Hira Thakur

Dur­ing the first Adams Restau­rant takeover back in April, Hira and Paul worked with aspir­ing chef Louie Decaux, 19, who recent­ly com­plet­ed the Lev­el 3 Advanced Pro­fes­sion­al Cook­ery qual­i­fi­ca­tion at the Col­lege. Louie impressed them so much so that he was offered a job at Naka­ma.

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Hira Thakur and Louie Decaux

He said: Since work­ing at Naka­ma I’ve seen a new and dif­fer­ent side of cook­ing which I’m real­ly enjoy­ing. Study­ing at Col­lege was great prepa­ra­tion for my next step, and if it wasn’t for my course and the indus­try expe­ri­ence we were giv­en, I may nev­er have met Hira and Paul or have been offered this amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to work along­side them with­in the pro­fes­sion­al industry.” 

Sam Now­ic­ki, 17, said: As part of our course, we have to cre­ate a themed night, which involves cre­at­ing a menu, pick­ing ingre­di­ents, work­ing out cost­ings, pro­mot­ing the evening and even decid­ing on dec­o­ra­tions, so get­ting to work on excit­ing ser­vices like this with Naka­ma is great experience.” 

Amy Chal­lon­er, 17, is study­ing the Lev­el 3 Pro­fes­sion­al Chefs Diplo­ma. She said: I assist­ed with dessert and made a fresh rasp­ber­ry jus. Work­ing on pro­fes­sion­al events like this is great because we get to make some­thing com­plete­ly different.” 

The menu test­ed culi­nary bound­aries, with dish­es like: sword­fish ceviche with com­pressed mel­on, shinko pear and yuzu emul­sion, mint­ed crust­ed lamb and miso aubergine, and Indi­an spiced aranci­ni with cur­ried cauliflower. 

Published on:
  • 4th October 2018 (6:00 PM)
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