Look who’s come home! The former city student now working as chef at top Italian restaurant

Chris Murray making fresh pasta with City College Norwich student Alex Saunders. Photo: City College

Chris Murray making fresh pasta with City College Norwich student Alex Saunders. Photo: City College Norwich - Credit: Archant

A former city student now working at a top Italian restaurant returned to his old college with a deliciously tempting offer for a group of budding young chefs.

Chris Murray, who is head Chef of the Ristorante Grock in Imperia, Italy, trained at City College Norwich in the 1990s.

He returned to the Ipswich Road site to share some of his knowledge, his passion for Italian food, and offer current students the chance to go to Italy and work in his kitchen for six weeks this summer.

Thirty students on the level two professional cookery course gathered in the college's Delia Smith Lecture Theatre, which is designed specifically for cookery demonstrations, to learn from Mr Murray.

The successful Norfolk-born chef, who has worked in many top restaurants in Italy, spent two hours showing the students how to cook classic Italian favourites like basil pesto Genovese, wholemeal farfalle pasta, ravioli del plin and modern tiramisu.

He encouraged the budding chefs to follow in his footsteps, from Norfolk to Italy, and apply for a work experience placement being offered exclusively to four students from City College.

Mr Murray said: 'This work experience will help the students to grow up. It's going to give them a taster of what it's like working, earning money, how to respect the ingredients, how to work under pressure. I do give them a lot of responsibility.

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'Last year I gave the four students the task to design a pasta dish or a starter of their choice, using local ingredients, which then went on the menu. All of them did it which is nice because they got to design a dish at five-star level and then sell it to customers.'

Among the students enthused by the demonstration was Tom Stevenson, 18, from Barnham Broom, who said: 'It was very, very interesting. This has given a really good insight and I will definitely be applying to go and work in Italy because I want to learn more about Italian food and culture.'

Fellow professional cookery student Melissa Symonds, 17, from Ludham , added: 'I am now going to have a go at making fresh pasta at home.'

Mr Murray was joined in the demonstration by the four level 3 students – Joe Brackenbury, Jack Jennings, Alex Saunders and Tomas Uragallo – who got the chance to work with him last summer in the prestigious La Meridiana Hotel in northern Italy.