CELEBRITY chef Marco Pierre White has promised to give aspiring young chefs at Horizons College a professional masterclass.

The Michelin-starred TV personality and mastermind behind Bardolino, the pizzeria chain with a Swindon branch in Wood Street, Old Town, made the announcement at a competition for young chefs from the specialist SEN college for young adults aged 16 -19.

Students prepared canapés, a chicken and “dirty” rice main course, as well as Eton mess for the chef in front of businesses and employers at the Marriott Hotel. They wanted to showcase their skills with the aim of securing a job when they finish their two-year course

Genti Mullaliu, principal of Horizons College, said: “The focus of the day was about raising awareness and bringing down the barriers that employers can have to employing people with learning difficulties.

“We gave a little bit of a taste of what our learners can do and what potential they have.

“Marco Pierre White has been fantastic and has offered us some opportunities with his restaurants and hotel chains. He’s actually going to come into the college and do a masterchef class with our students, which is brilliant.”

Jackie Smith, CEO of Brunel SEN Multi Academy Trust, added: “It was fabulous to see everyone together. It’s about the fact that they are young people first and disabled second.

“They have all the characteristics for work. They’re employable, they’re reliable, hardworking, and consistent.

Gemma Commons, a pupil at Horizons, said: “It went really amazing today. Eton mess is one of my favourites. I think Marco Pierre White liked my dessert. My future dream is being a chef.”

Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said: “I was very proud to help organise this event, allowing the students to showcase their talents to potential employers. Nationally, more than 600,000 more disabled people are now in work than in 2010, and right here in Swindon we are leading the way, with great enthusiasm from the local business community.”