Rotary Masterchef Competition

Later this term Charleston Academy will host the Inverness Rotary Masterchef Competition. This event will take place in our new Roux Kitchen and will see pupils from four school in Inverness compete to represent the area nationally.

Last week, Mike Mathieson, consultant chef to Chez Albert Roux OBE was in school to cast a critical eye over the work of two of our entrants.

Alex McKenzie (5L2) prepared Arbroath Smoked Salmon Ravioli with Pea Puree and Crispy Prawns as a starter, followed by Roast Borders Duck Breast, Fig, Crushed Potato and Broccoli.

Ronan Melens (5S1) served a starter of Pea and Almond Veloute, Ham and Ricotta Tortellini and a main of Pan Roasted Corn Fed Chicken Supreme, Tarragon Gnocchi and Caramalised Celeriac Puree.

Both boys are still finalising their dishes ahead of the first heat on Wednesday this week.

Alex Mackenzie, 5L2
Alex MacKenzie (5L2)
Ronan Melens, 5S1
Ronan Melens (5S1)







Mrs Alison Fraser, Acting Principal Teacher of Home Economics

Hospitality Training Kitchen

Work continues with the refurbishment project in Home Economics. Reconstruction will see a new state of the art training kitchen installed. Work began in late June and the contractors anticipated that refurbishment would have been completed before the start of term. However, delays occurred to allow safe asbestos removal and in August Highland Council insisted that the Home Economics department should have a new re-laid roof in order to prevent leaks occurring on the newly installed kitchen. This has coincided with a health and safety requirement for improved air extraction in the new kitchen.

This means that construction work has not yet finished and our new training facility is still some way off completion. Unfortunately, we have had to close off our entire department over the past four weeks in order to allow safe access for contractors and to ensure the safety of pupils.

It is anticipated that work should be completed soon and we are delighted that pupils and staff will get back into all our other HE classrooms from Thursday 11th September. In the meantime HE pupils have been undertaking non-practical work. Pupils and staff have been remarkably patient and understanding with this situation but will be very relieved to get back into their class rooms finally.

Our Albert Roux Homecoming Dinner is still scheduled for Monday 10th November when we also hope that Mr Roux will officially open the new kitchen named in his honour.

If you have any queries or concerns about this project please do not hesitate to contact the school.

Albert Roux Dinner 2013

Our annual Albert Roux Dinner took place earlier this month. 100 guests, each paying £30 per head, were served a three course Michelin Star quality dinner in our school hall which had been especially transformed for the occasion. Over 100 pupils and staff worked hard all day, developing a detailed understating of the use of ingredients, food preparation and cooking. Then in the evening, they took over the school canteen kitchen, where Mr Roux and his team took charge and supervised the pupils cook, plate and serve a three course quality dinner with champagne, wine and coffee included.

Pupils gained a valuable insight once again into the art of fine dining and quality food preparation using Scottish ingredients, learning from the world renowned Mr Albert Roux himself. Front of house pupils were also put through their paces by staff from Rocpool in Inverness so that they were able to provide a first class waiter service to our guests.

Special guests this year included Mr David Haas (City Manager for Inverness) and his wife, Depute Provost Cllr Jean Slater, Mr Graeme Findlay (SQA Manager for Hospitality), and Cllr Helen Carmichael. Sponsors and representatives from the hospitality trade across the Highlands also attended. These included Mr Charlie Lockley (Chef at Boath House) who assisted in the kitchen too.

Our fourth annual dinner had a special status as we were able to announce that funding for our Albert Roux Kitchen is now in place. The state of the art catering kitchen should be completed during this session through the conversion of one of our existing HE rooms. Mr Roux is delighted to have the kitchen named in his honour.

We hope to have the kitchen completed for our next dinner, which will be a special Homecoming 2014 Dinner and our fifth such event.

Opportunity of a Lifetime for Gary

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As we settle into the new session and prepare for the Albert Roux Dinner on 12th September, we are delighted to congratulate Gary Millard who has the opportunity of a lifetime – with the offer of an apprenticeship with Albert Roux Consultancy.

From S1 onwards, Gary has had a keen interest in food and from S3 onwards won local and regional competitions. He reached North of Britain Chef competitions on two occasions and was runner up in 2012. His passion for patisserie earned him ‘best sweet’ in the 2012 Scottish Final.

 Mr Roux’s generosity to the Home Economics Department is never ending. He has already employed two Charleston pupils as apprentices to work at his establishments in London, Edinburgh and then France, (Rebecca Williams and Caitie Grainger).

They have now been joined by Gary, who starts at Mr Roux’s 5-star Inverness restaurant, Rocpool Reserve next month.

“It’s hard to take in,” said Gary. “To be taken on by a world class chef like Mr Roux is such a privilege. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“I will start off at Rocpool Reserve and hopefully he will move me around to some of his other restaurants later on.”

Gary has a particular interest in patisserie – Mr Roux’s own speciality when he was training.

“I’ve wanted to be a chef as long as I can remember,” said Gary. “My grandad used to own the Ledgowan Lodge Hotel at Achnasheen and my uncle was his Head Chef – so you could say it runs in the family. My granny used to do a lot of cooking with me as well.”

Until now, Gary has been working in the evenings as a chef in Corner on the Square in Beauly where I’m sure he will be missed.

Mr Roux will guide him and train him and get him qualifications on the way. Everyone is delighted for Gary. We are all very proud of him!

Gary Milard, 6L
Gary Millard, 6L


Miss Eilidh Matheson, Home Economics Department

Home Economics serve up Pizza & Cakes

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Our Home Economics department is renowned as a centre of excellence for top class cooking and hospitality courses. Achieving that accolade has been helped enormously by our on-going partnership with the world renowned master of French cooking, Albert Roux OBE.

However, the talents of our Hospitality pupils and their teachers go much further. Pupils have recently successfully completed their SQA Cake Production Course. SQA moderated the course and described the work of our pupils as exemplary.

Also of note, the department recently worked with Pizza Express in Inverness where pupils learned how to provide service and quality pizza in a busy city centre establishment. We know that Mr Roux is enormously proud of the success of our pupils across all aspects of the hospitality industry, both locally and further afield.

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S3 Hospitality pupils get tasting lesson from Mr Albert Roux

Our S3 Hospitality pupils were enthralled to have a two  hour lesson on our sense of taste from non other than Mr Albert Roux and his assistant Mr Glen Watson. Both had flown up from London to visit Charleston Academy as part of their work with the school and the Chefs Adopt a School scheme. The pupils were asked to sample an assortment of jams, jellies, crisps, and vegetables. However, they did some of this blindfold, removing important visual cues about the food, and some of the jelly was strangely coloured and flavoured. Blue-coloured marzipan flavoured jelly? Red-coloured peppermint jelly?

The pupils received a valuable lesson about how our appreciation of food and our sense of taste is affected by our other senses and perceptions.

Mr Roux was in school to find out about progress towards the building of our Albert Roux kitchen which is progressing well, and to begin planning for our fourth Albert Roux Gala Dinner which will be held in September. On his arrival at school this morning, Mr Roux and Mr Watson were piped in by Euan Morrison (4L1) and greeted with a huge round of applause by our S3 Hospitality pupils.

Mr Roux also took time to catch up with his new apprentice. Rebecca Williams (5T2) is being employed by Mr Roux at Rocpool, his Inverness hotel and restaurant. This is a fantastic achievement for Rebecca who is Mr Roux’s second Charleston Academy apprentice. Former pupil Catie Granger has already been offered a position at one of Mr Roux’s Edinburgh hotels. As part of her training Rebecca will spend time in London working with Mr Roux’s son, Michel Roux Jnr at Le Gavroche. Catie meanwhile, is being offered the chance to work in Paris.

Charleston Fashion Designers


Click on the images above for an expanded view

Our S6 Art students have been completing their final portfolio pieces. Each S6 pupil has chosen a theme and worked around this as part of their portfolio preparation.

The pupils have used the skills they acquired in Art and Fashion & Textiles (Home Economics) last year to work on their portfolio pieces. We are extremley fortunate that these two departments work collaboratively to ensure very successful outcomes for pupils. This cross-curricular working is essential to ensure that the pupils have the breadth of knowledge and skills required to produce both the preparatory work and the final outcomes within Fashion Design. The pupils worked confidently and independently of one another to produce their final projects.

Hazel Blackhall has used the “Orient” as her inspiration, and produced a variety of fashion items and accessories based on traditional Chinese dress.

Neillidh Sutherland initially looked at “Camouflage” in the natural environment. She has gone onto produce the mask, top hat and dress using the Peacock as her inspiration.

Zamira Rooks has based her work on Alice in Wonderland, creating a more modern slant on Alice’s traditional outfit.

Ms Macleod (PT Art)

Mrs Bremner (PT Home Economics)

Albert Roux Dinner 2012

Our annual Albert Roux Gala Dinner was held on 30th October 2012. Mr Albert Roux and his expert staff from Le Gavroche in London and Rocpool in Inverness spent the day with Charleston Academy pupils. Our Hospitality pupils were put through their paces by the world’s top chef, who advised, assisted, and praised the work of our Hospitality pupils as they prepared and then served a three-course dinner for over 100 paying guests. This year our guests included Provost of Inverness Alex Graham and important representatives from the hospitality industry from across the Highlands. And of course our food critics, the parents of the pupils themselves.

The Video of the 2012 Gala Dinner is now available. CLICK HERE.

Mr Chris O’Neill, Rector

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