Catering students cook up signature dish for Accrington Food Festival

12 April 2017

It looks like an Accrington Nori Brick, it stacks like a brick and 200 of them will form a stunning centrepiece at the town's Food and Drink Festival this year.

But unlike the town's iconic red slabs these will be entirely EDIBLE and even DRINKABLE thanks to the imagination and creativity of catering students at Accrington and Rossendale College!

During a series of workshops, festival organisers Scott Dawson Advertising challenged students from AccRoss College – a Gold Sponsor of this year's event – to come up with a signature food and drink item.

The keen teens – who are all first-year catering students – suggested a WW2/Accrington Pals and Nori brick theme for this year's Food and Drink Festival which takes place on Saturday, June 3rd.

Nori bricks were manufactured across Accrington and today form the foundation of many architectural gems worldwide – including New York's Empire State Building.

Students used a basic sponge mix and red food dye to create each block. Children visiting the Food Festival will be invited to pipe their names in icing before the cake bricks are ‘cemented' together with butter cream to make a mini-sized model of a World War 2 Anderson Shelter.
The sponge centrepiece will be built inside the town's historic Market Hall where a scale model of a 1909 Double Brick Press machine is currently on display.

Over on the main stage, under the watchful eye of Celebrity chef Richard Fox, two AccRoss students will whip up a cucumber gin sorbet before demonstrating how to model it into the shape of a Nori brick. Students came up with the idea of a ‘grow your own' twist for the novel cocktail by adding the juice and rind of a cucumber – one of the most popular summer fruits grown during WW2 rationing.

The name Nori is the word Iron spelt backwards, and according to Accrington historian Walter Holmes, this was to avoid a legal dispute with a brick manufacturing company which had already registered the name ‘Iron' for their product branding.

Many people mistakenly believe the Nori name came from a design error when the brick mould was created, stamping the word in reverse. And in a cheeky swipe at the rival brick firm, Accrington Brick's advertising slogan was, ‘Iron whichever way you put it!'

AccRoss College's Commercial Chef Jack O' Sullivan said students had "wholeheartedly embraced" the challenge.

Scott Dawson's festival committee team returned to the campus yesterday to taste their signature dish and drink – and voted to include the Nori brick cake and cucumber gin and tonic sorbet in this year's event.

Said Chef Jack: "When the students were split into groups, they couldn't wait to come up with a list of themes. The students wanted to choose things they thought most represented the area like the Accrington Pals and Nori brick."

Student Bailey Cochran, 16, added: "I was really excited about this project. I have been to the Accrington Food and Drink festival for the past three years – and this year will be even more special now I am studying catering. I'm hoping to meet the chef Richard Fox for some cooking tips."

Karen Bracewell from Accrington and Rossendale College said: "This is a really exciting project and we are thrilled to once again to be a Gold Sponsor of the Food and Drink Festival, along with Duckworths estate agents.

"The students have been bursting with brilliant ideas and couldn't wait to present them to the organisers Scott Dawson.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their work to the public at a wonderful, local event."

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