The Food Academy is a student run restaurant at Leeds City College's Printworks campus, it opened to the public in 2013 but I have only heard of one other person I know visiting it... a fellow blogger who deserted us for that London place some time last year.
It's been on the list but due to location it never quite made it to the top, however myself and a plus one were invited to attend a special blogger night to help give some promo to the site that the students needs.
Now I know what your first thoughts are, they have been echoed to me by many "students cooking your tea... I don't know about that, what happens if you get food poisoning, wine on your lap, gravy down your back etc etc." First of all the students are supervised and second of all their not idiots and totally incompetent, at least not by this point in the year (joking!!).
We were greeted warmly and served Pimms cocktails. I don't get on too well with Pimms these days after a few mishaps... where I might have drunk a whole bottle in one night... on maybe more than one occasion. HOWEVER this was so delightfully mixed it took all those horrid headache staining memories away.
We were seated in a dining room, which by their own omissions is a bit classroom like. It has 'safe' decor and could do with a bit more natural light. At the moment it's housed behind the beautiful listed building which is currently undergoing restoration works but shortly it will be house inside this magnificent building and I can't wait to see it when it is.
Warm bread rolls were served to us myself receiving the roasted red pepper bread which was beautifully baked. They were generous enough to send us home with a goody bag which contained some more delightful bread.. but which D scoffed when I got home (I didn't take him with me for once).
To start we had Veal and Goats Cheese Nugget.
Admittedly I was sceptical, veal and goats cheese? How well was that going to go? A nugget? It didn't sound very elegant. I was pleasantly surprised however when a beautifully presented breaded parcel arrived at my table sat on a bed of picked beetroot, cucumber, spring onions and radish. The veal and goats cheese married together very well brought together in this union by the crispy nugget casing. I also bloody love beetroot at the moment, D was made to eat so much of it lately he exclaimed that if I kept on the way I was his shit would turn pink (sorry kids if you're reading this) and so we've calmed it down a bit recently.
Next up was another eye pleasing dish of saffron infused scallop. C wasn't a massive fan of the wasabi pea and I wasn't too sure about the herb soup perhaps a touch more seasoning was needed for my tastes but the scallop was perfectly cooked, not over done and chewy and clearly made with fresh ingredients.
The main course was a plate of pork. Not the most inspiring name but once again a charming dish to look at. Upon our plates were two pieces of pork, pork fillet crusted with black pudding and chilli and slow braised belly pork on a pomme puree (mash) with rhubarb and tenderstem broccoli. The pork fillet was a little dry and could have been combatted with more gravy, but perhaps this is just the Yorkshire in me. The belly pork was done to perfection but I struggled to bite in to the crackling for fear of breaking a tooth. The mash, sorry pomme puree, had been left a little too long and a skin had started to form but other than that it was beautifully creamy and without lumps. My tip for budding chefs: keep it looking pretty with a separate jug of gravy for the northerners.
Dessert was chocolate and coconut torte topped with blackberry sorbet with toasted mini meringues and edible flowers to decorate the plate. The torte was beautifully moist and packed with the flavour, I absolutely loved the blackberry sorbet and knew that D was missing out as he loves sorbet or any type of ice related dessert. It was a perfect end to the meal.
We were also waited on by students studying hospitality, you'll be glad to hear (I hope) that there was no wine in lap mishaps neither did I receive gravy down the back of my neck. The service was excellent the only thing that was missing was confidence, but this will come with time.
Overall the service and food was better than a lot of the places I've visited in Leeds, some of the pro's could learn a thing or two from these young people. I applaud them for choosing one of the hardest vocations too, people are fickle and you'll never please everyone, but if you're doing what you love, and you love it, who cares?
I'd definitely recommend a trip to The Food Academy, it's cheap as chips too on the basis that they are still training. The food went without a hitch, my comments as always being my own personal views and not reflected by all. There were no disasters of cold meals or hairs where they shouldn't be. Plus the students need someone to practice on, go and have a facial for a tenner then treat yourself to a slap up meal that will never cost you more than £25 per head.