Question Time: University students ‘suffering’ says woman
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Student newspaper Varsity revealed that internal conflicts between upper management and acclaimed kitchen staff have pushed many of them to resign. At the Corpus Christi campus, students have seen the number of formals (black-tie gatherings) reduced while breakfasts and cafeteria services were shut down.
However, students are still being billed for the high level of services they think they no longer receive.
Talking to Varsity, Zack Hilburn, said the cancellations of many formals felt like a “loss of the Cambridge experience.”
According to the student newspaper, an incident that happened while strong COVID-19 regulations were in place made a chef so angry he chose to leave.
Chris Le-Vien was the catering manager at Corpus Christi for 10 years before resigning in February 2021.
While Le-Vien was there, the kitchen became one of the highest performing kitchens in Cambridge, with one former Masterchef quarter-finalist in its ranks.
An anonymous source revealed that Christmas black-tie events took place on three nights from 2-4 December last year.
At the time, Government’s rules stated that mixing between households indoors was banned because Cambridge was under Tier 2 restrictions.
Yet the university allowed 50 students to dine together in a marquee where they were able to sit with people from different households at tables of six.
According to former staff, Le-Vien was “scapegoated” for the formals — which led to his resignation and the one of many go his colleagues.
The latter chose to leave when they saw upper management was shaking things up and focusing on quantity rather than quality.
Former chefs told Varsity “the freezers were stuffed” while ingredients were replaced with bulk-bought food, cakes were shop-bought, and vegetables were pre-cut.
From 13 cooks at the start of summer 2021, the crew now only includes three people.
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Another popular head chef, Seb Mansfield, is also gone, after attracting many apprentices during his tenure.
The College told Varsity that well-liked chef Le-Vien left “by agreement” and “was not dismissed.”
Many of those who left found new jobs in high-end restaurants.
They also claim that all events were “subject to careful risk assessment and carried out in accordance with government restrictions in force at the time.”
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