Students at City College Norwich cook for Queen’s Sandringham garden party

Students from City College Norwich will today head to Sandringham to cater for the Queen and her 4,000 Diamond Jubilee garden party guests.

Yesterday, the budding chefs spent the day slaving away in the Ipswich Road kitchens preparing a huge selection of tasty treats for the prestigious event.

In total, 300 students from three Norfolk institutions – City College, Great Yarmouth College and the College of West Anglia – have helped to cater for the party.

Many will also be working at Sandringham House today, where they are set to be on their feet for six hours while they finish, present and serve the food.

Steve Thorpe, head of City College's hotel, hair and beauty school, said: 'This event – a Diamond Jubilee – will probably never happen again for any of us in our lifetimes. What a great honour. It's a great opportunity to bring learning alive – preparing an afternoon tea for 4,000 distinguished guests.'

The catering team has not been shown a guest list for the party. Although they have been told the Queen will be present, the students will not know of any other VIPs until they encounter them on the day.

Among the young chefs involved in both the preparation and today's party is City College student Matt Woolner. He spent yesterday making cheese straws and chocolate-filled tartlets.

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The 19-year-old, who is studying for a level-two qualification in professional cookery, said yesterday: 'I'm not so nervous today, but I reckon tomorrow the nerves will kick in a bit. It's quite an honour and it's going to be pretty memorable. We've been told we might get the chance to meet some of the guests.'

The young chefs – at various stages of their professional cookery courses – have prepared a traditional afternoon tea including egg and cress sandwiches, smoked salmon bagels, and individual Victoria sandwiches.

The only nod to the jubilee celebrations will be a selection of red, white and blue macaroons.

'We've tried to keep everything as professional and subdued as possible, remembering the dignity of the event,' said Mr Thorpe.

Norfolk's students have a proven record of catering for prestigious guests during their visits to the county, having previously been involved with events including the Royal Norfolk Show.

After helping out at the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, the colleges were asked to increase their involvement and will now be responsible for everything from the food preparation and serving right through to cleaning up at the end. The first students from Norwich were due to set out for Sandringham at 9.30am today.

The first guests will arrive at 2pm and food will be served from 3pm.

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