Video: Students can’t cook? We test the culinary skills of Ipswich’s university students

THEIR culinary expertise has always left more than a little to be desired.

Takeaways, ready meals and instant noodles are, if the tales are to be believed, the main source of sustenance for millions of our university students.

And their reputation in the kitchen has not been helped by a recent survey which suggested one in three teenagers starting university cannot even perform the simple task of boiling an egg.

But is it right to tar all students with the same brush?

To put their cookery skills to the test, The Star dropped in to Quayside Halls of Residence, in Grimwade Street, armed with a handful of ingredients to see what six UCS students could conjure up.

After seeing the ingredients, which included potatoes, turnips, bacon chunks and rice, the students quickly warmed to their task.

David Gillam, 19, who is studying bio-sciences, said: “I live with my grandparents so I don’t know if I picked it up from them, but I’m not too bad at cooking.

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“Sometimes I will come home tired from lectures and I just want something quick.”

Charis Doherty, 19, who is studying criminology and sociology, added: “It all comes down to what people teach you.”

With the water boiled and the ovens turned on, the students, split into a boys versus girls competition, set about preparing their meals.

The scent of their handiwork was nothing new for the assistant property manager at Quayside, Ola Sereki.

“Normally I sit in my office and I can smell the food,” said the 23-year-old.

“I think (students not being able to cook) is a thing of the past. I see them cooking and eating so it’s quite good.”

After about 45 minutes of preparation and cooking, the students unveiled their creations which, considering the ingredients on offer and the time available to them, were ideal for a quick meal after a day of learning.

A far cry from the ready meal clich�, the boys created a rice dish with fried onions, bacon and pepperoni, while the girls rustled up a bake with vegetables, potato, mushroom and bacon – debunking the myth that students can’t cook without a microwave.

“It looks OK,” said 20-year-old Zoe Barlow.

“With the ingredients we had, I think we’ve done pretty well.”

? Did you use to cook at university? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to