The college where life's a (edible, polluted) beach

Meet the college staff and students who created an edible beach with edible litter to raise awareness of climate change

Colleges Week: Staff and students at Cheshire College – South and West have created an edible beach to raise awareness about climate change

What do you see in this picture? It’s a beach, right? It’s not a beautifully clean, golden-sanded beach you’d see on a postcard, but a beach that you’d see in many seaside towns today. There’s broken glass everywhere, plastic cans and scum in the sand.

Cheshire college edible beach

But although this polluted beach may look like any other, it’s actually rather extraordinary. Every single item on this beach is perfectly safe to eat.

It was created by staff and students in the catering department at Cheshire College – South and West.


Colleges Week: Are these the most beautiful colleges in the UK?

Love Our Colleges: Principal records Queen cover to mark Colleges Week

Opinion: Why colleges need to keep making their voices heard


The milk cartons are made from milk chocolate and the rocks are a chocolate mousse that’s been frozen in a pebble mould before being dipped in white chocolate containing black liquid cocoa butter. The glass is flavoured caramel, the seaweed is samphire that’s been dipped in boiling sugar and the sand is three different types of biscuit and a sponge cake.

Shane Guildford, a chef lecturer at the college, says the project came about when staff were thinking of what they could showcase for a college open evening. Climate change is a hot topic across the world – but, for many of the students at the college, travelling to the student protests would be prohibitively expensive.

Cheshire college, edible beach

“Some of these guys can’t even afford a pen, so to get the travel to go down to one of these protests and that sort of stuff, it doesn’t even come into their heads. They’re just struggling to get through life a lot of the time," he says.

Climate change: raising awareness

“We wanted them to be able to contribute to the issue and have fun with it. [The students] were buzzing, and seeing the smiles on their faces considering what they have to go through at home, there’s no feeling like it,” Guildford adds.

It took students two to three days to prep everything: they worked in teams to create every single element. Then it took around three hours to get it all on to the bench.

The hard work paid off: the visual effect is amazing. But what did it taste like?

"Delicious," says Guildford. “We gave every visitor a wooden fork and spoon when they came around, and encouraged them to try it. They all absolutely loved it! We were the main attraction of the night.”

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you