AN INNOVATIVE chef from a company specialising in micro-produce paid a special visit to a group of budding cooks.

Kendal College's professional cookery students got the chance to meet Franck Pontais, of Koppert Cress, which creates micro-vegetables, cresses and speciality ingredients for the international gastronomy industry.

During the visit Mr Pontais showed the students a 'tasting garden' created from Koppert’s plants, cresses and edible flowers.

The students then had the opportunity to sample some of the curious products which include cresses with various flavours such as chilli, daikon and lemon, spicy Szechuan buttons and the extravagant and unusual BlinQ Blossom.

“At Koppert Cress we think it is very important to engage with the up and coming culinary stars of the future," said Mr Pontais. "We already work very closely with The Chefs’ Forum, which hosts regular events to connect students with top chefs and leading suppliers, and visiting colleges helps to build on these existing relationships and enhance the students’ knowledge of our range.

“We are also very happy to host visits to our headquarters in Holland for anyone who wants to learn more about how we grow and develop our products.”

The innovative and development chef explained the provenance and quality of the plants and how the healthy ingredients can be used to enhance day to day cooking.

Operating from just outside Rotterdam, in Holland, the company’s products are used by some of the most famous chefs, restaurants, hotels and food producers around the world to create 'amazing flavours' in their food.

Hospitality and catering lecturer Yannick Lequitte said: “We encourage all our students to develop their palates, discover more about the potential of flavour, and learn about combinations of flavour.

“Knowledge and passion of ingredients is a key component of this, and experience like today offers them not only a chance to learn first-hand, but also gain from the vast experience of one of the culinary world’s top names.”