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James Holden, host of charity fundraiser and local Master Chef
James Holden, host of charity fundraiser and local Master Chef

St Helens College’s Catering and Hospitality students cooked up a storm in the kitchen alongside host and respected Master Chef, James Holden and four other talented Chefs, many of whom have recently appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu.

On Friday 8th October, students worked alongside the Chefs to prepare and serve an elaborate four-course dining experience at St Helens College’s award-winning, Colours Restaurant, in support of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Eve Townson, Co-founder of BE Chocolates and Patisserie in Lancashire
Eve Townson, Co-founder of BE Chocolates and Patisserie in Lancashire

James and his family have received incredible support from Alder Hey over the years, including the fantastic treatment James’ grandson, Bobby received, which prompted the family to want to thank the hospital. Bobby was born in October 2020 with a serious heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, spending the first 100 days of his life in Alder Hey, most of which on a ventilator.

The event raised over £6,000 for the hospital, which will support them to continue providing lifesaving treatment.

Craig Sherrington, Executive Head Chef at the Seaview Restaurant in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire
Craig Sherrington, Executive Head Chef at the Seaview Restaurant in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire

Master Chef, James kicked off the evening with delicious appetisers, whilst Dave Critchley, Executive Chef Director at Lu Ban Restaurant in Liverpool, recreated his sea bass dish from his appearance on the Great British Menu. Craig Sherrington, Executive Head Chef at The Seaview Restaurant at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, also recreated his beef dish, which scored four 10s from the judges. Finally, Eve Townson, co-founder of BE Chocolates and Patisserie in Lancashire, produced her Lancashire themed dessert dish from her time on the show.

Young local Chef, Sean Noonan, who is currently Premier Sous Chef at the two-rosette restaurant, The Mere, in Knutsford, also worked alongside the students to create mouth-watering bitesize canapés for guests to enjoy at the ‘fizz’ reception.

Sean Noonan, Premier Sous Chef at the two-rosette restaurant, The Mere, in Knutsford
Sean Noonan, Premier Sous Chef at the two-rosette restaurant, The Mere, in Knutsford

James said: “My family have had amazing support from Alder Hey, so it was an easy decision to host this dinner.

“I am delighted to have gathered such dedicated and amazing professional chefs, who are willing to offer their time and expertise. With the help of the chefs and the students, we will create a mouth-watering gastronomic experience for the guests. It will definitely be an evening to remember!”

Jen McGill, Head of Catering and Hospitality at St Helens College, said:

Dave Critchley, Executive Chef Director at Lu Ban Restaurant in Liverpool
Dave Critchley, Executive Chef Director at Lu Ban Restaurant in Liverpool

“The College has a longstanding relationship with James. He is a long-time friend and mentor to staff and students here and it is great that we can continue to work together to host fantastic events for the St Helens community.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to gain experience working alongside professional chefs in a fast-paced kitchen environment, all in support of a great cause.”

The event also included a raffle and an auction of prizes, generously donated by local businesses.

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College students assist region’s top chefs with charity fundraiser