Trafford College Hospitality students have been given an insight into one of the food industry’s hottest trends after working with local chef Amy Shepherdson on a special vegan evening in the college’s award-winning restaurant.

Amy joined students for her eagerly anticipated guest chef evening to cook up some of her signature vegan dishes and help give the aspiring chefs food for thought on where their future career or study paths could take them.

Amy, who is a Director and Co-Founder of The Garden in Hale, a successful health food eatery where the emphasis is on healthy, ethical food – worked with students to create a feast including chickpea and leek patties with sweet potato dauphinoise and banoffee and raw cacao cheesecake, sharing some of her hottest tips and expertise with the industry’s next generation of young chefs along the way.

“It was a fantastic night, the menu had excellent feedback from customers. Our guest chef evenings are invaluable for our students. We invite guest chefs to create a menu with recipes to their own style, then the students have the opportunity to make and create the guest chef’s meals under their guidance. This is a unique experience for the students and an insight into what is happening out in the industry. They also get to work alongside the region’s best and most innovative chefs, and in this case, see the importance of moving trends in the industry.” – Chef tutor Paul Taylor

“It was really amazing to help cook, and also taste the food, it really opened my eyes to new techniques only using plant-based foods. I will be using these techniques in the future.”Student Wenli Zhu 

The Garden has quickly become, in its three years since launch in November 2014, so much more than just a café serving delicious, earth friendly food. It is a wellbeing hub attracting thought leaders in mind, body and soul to host events and supper clubs to encourage customers and guests to be the best they can be.

Health and wellbeing has been front of mind for the founders of The Garden from the very beginning. After giving up her job in events to look after her father who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013 and following a deeply traumatic year in which Amy lost both her brother and father, Amy re-evaluated her life.

This was the catalyst for Amy to look deeper into the effects of good nutrition on the body, undertaking research into ways she could help her dad following his diagnosis. Although his prognosis was poor, it opened a door for Amy in understanding so much more about the positive impact that an alkaline diet can have on the body.

Amy’s parents met in the catering industry. Her dad was a chef at The Grosvenor in Chester and it was his dream to eventually buy a restaurant for the family to run together. Amy launched The Garden alongside co-founder, Kate Mosley, in December 2014.

My aim since launching The Garden is to make healthy food more creative and enjoyable for people, and being able to share this with the chefs of the future is fantastic. I’m grateful to Trafford College for giving me the opportunity to work alongside their brilliant and inspiring team with special thanks to Paul Taylor for organising it.” Amy Shepherdson